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In 2020, the murder of George Floyd sparked a protest that spanned several sectors, including sports.
Since 2020, footballers from all over Europe (especially England) have started kneeling before kick-off.
Although opinions were divided, clubs and competitions overseas continued to practice.
The English Premier League recently announced that the anti-racism gesture will no longer be used as often in the 2022/2023 season.
On Wednesday, the English Premier League announced that the move would be limited to a few matches next season.
The decision came from the matches between the league and the top captains after consulting their respective teams.
“We have decided to select significant moments to take the knee during the season to highlight our unity against all forms of racism,” said the Premier League captains.
“In doing so, we continue to show solidarity for a common cause.”
“The players have decided to use specific moments during the upcoming campaign to take the knee, to amplify the message that racism has no place in football or society,” the statement read.
“The Premier League supports the players’ decision and, alongside the clubs, will use these opportunities to elevate anti-racism messaging as part of the League’s No Room for Racism Action Plan.”
“Players will take the knee during the opening match round of the season, dedicated No Room for Racism match rounds in October and March, Boxing Day fixtures following the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Premier League matches on the final day of the season and The FA Cup and EFL Cup Finals.”
Kneeling is a player-led initiative from June 2020 to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The gesture has attracted criticism from fans and politicians, such as the British Interior Minister Priti Patel, who accused the England national team of participating in “gestural politics” during the Euro 2020 matches.
Patel said fans were right to boo in June 2021, “That’s a choice for them, quite frankly.”
The English league
The English Premier League begins the 2022/2023 season on August 5, with Arsenal meeting Crystal Palace in a London derby.
Tony Burnett, CEO of anti-racism group Kick It Out, released a statement saying:
“Taking the knee is a gesture that has been driven by the players. Players have been doing it to highlight the fight for racial equality, and for that, it has certainly kept the spotlight on the issues football and wider society still faces.”
“The purpose of symbols and gestures is to use platforms to highlight to those with power that they need to act. Those gestures and symbols will inevitably change over time.”
“The point is not the symbols and gestures themselves, but what they signify.”
“We shouldn’t be talking about whether players kneel. We should be talking about why they kneel. We should be talking about the inequality and discrimination that the gesture highlights.”