The gesture will only happen on ‘significant moments’ from now on (Picture: Getty)
The Premier League’s club captains have decided to no longer take the knee before every match, though have reaffirmed their commitment to fighting racism and discrimination.
Top-flight clubs started doing the gesture following the resumption of the season after the first Covid wave to support the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
However, some players, such as Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, feel taking a knee has lost some of its significance, with the forward stopping doing the gesture in February 2021, saying: ‘At the moment it doesn’t matter whether we kneel or stand, some of us still continue to receive abuse.’
Zaha is one of several players who stopped taking the knee (Picture: Getty)
Before the start of the new Premier League season this weekend, the captains of each team met to discuss various topics – including taking the knee – and have decided it will now only be used on specific occasions.
A statement on behalf of the 20 captains explained: ‘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.
‘We remain resolutely committed to eradicate racial prejudice, and to bring about an inclusive society with respect and equal opportunities for all.’
Those ‘significant moments’ will include the first and last matches of the 2022-23 campaign, with players still taking the knee just before kick-off this coming weekend.
The gesture will also be seen before Boxing Day fixtures, Cup finals and dedicated ‘No Room For Racism’ matchdays, with the captains and the players they represent feeling that the anti-racism message will be amplified if it is used more sparingly.
A statement from the Premier League also confirmed that a total of £238,000 will be donated to designated youth clubs on behalf of the Premier League captains after £119,000 was raised from the royalties of the ‘No Room For Racism’ sleeve badges sold on club shirts last season – a figure that has been matched by the Premier League.
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