Premier League players have agreed to stop taking the knee before every match, with clubs opting to choose a select number games to take the pre-match anti-racism gesture of in order to create more impact.
Top-flight clubs started taking a knee in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which rose to prominence following the death of George Floyd in the United States in May 2020 – with the gesture inspired by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who decided on the silent protest against racial oppression by kneeling during the US national anthem.
Now, EPL clubs are looking to take a ‘less is more approach’ with the gesture to make sure the impact of the gesture isn’t lost. Premier League captains took the decision after consulting with players, with the gesture instead seen before certain rounds of games, including the Boxing Day fixtures and cup finals.
Players and staff will also take the knee before the first and last matches of the 2022-23 campaign as well as dedicated No Room for Racism match rounds in October and March.
“We have decided to select significant moments to take the knee during the season to highlight our unity against all forms of racism and in so doing we continue to show solidarity for a common cause,” said a joint statement from the Premier League captains.
“We remain resolutely committed to eradicate racial prejudice, and to bring about an inclusive society with respect and equal opportunities for all.”
Kick It Out Chairman Sanjay Bhandari said he would support the players in whatever decision they made.
“We should be spending more time on why players take a knee rather than whether they take a knee or not,” said Bhandari on Tuesday.The reason they take a knee is because we are not living in an equal society. There is discrimination. There is a huge amount of online abuse.
“It is using their platform to raise awareness and says to the people in power you need to act. Whatever they do, I will support any kind of peaceful gesture.”