Team GB women's football team 'united' in decision to take the knee at Tokyo Olympics

15 July 2021, 20:17

The women's football team will be taking the knee before matches during the Tokyo Olympics
The women's football team will be taking the knee before matches during the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Team GB women's football team will take the knee at the Tokyo Olympics in a "united" decision, the squad announced.

It comes as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that athletes would be allowed to make gestures provided they do not cause disruption and show respect to other competitors.

The squad's manager, Hege Riise, said: "The players and staff have been taking the knee at club and international level for over a year now and we were all united in our decision to continue doing whatever we can to raise awareness of racism and discrimination in all its forms, standing in unity and solidarity with all those whose lives are affected.

"We are clear that taking the knee is an important symbol of peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality in society and we are glad that the IOC have acknowledged the importance of this form of freedom of expression.

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"We will do so with the utmost respect for our fellow competitors, officials and the IOC, with due regard for the ideals that lie at the heart of the Olympic movement."

This comes after the men's England team faced a torrent of racist abuse online following their defeat at the Euros final.

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Team GB will have three captains of the women's football team this year - Steph Houghton, Sophie Ingle and Kim Little.

The trio will take on the role in rotation throughout the tournament, with Riise saying she was "impressed" with the team coming together the way they have.

"We're fortunate to have so many experienced and talented players in our squad and we think of ourselves as a 'leaderful' team, where every individual brings their own leadership strengths to the group," she said.

"However Steph, Sophie and Kim will lead the way on the pitch. 

"This is a very close group on and off the pitch and I have been so impressed with how they have all come together.

"We've had a great reception here in Japan and we are fully focused on doing our best for Team GB.

"When you get to an Olympics you realise you are part of something very special and I know the players and support team are determined to give everything they can."