Premier League chiefs will discuss the taking the knee gesture with senior players and managers as they decide whether or not to continue with the action next season
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Premier League bosses will discuss the “taking the knee” gesture with senior players as they consider whether to continue with the gesture next season.
Players have backed the anti-racism symbol for more than two seasons, taking a knee before every game since football returned following the pandemic in 2020. Now though some feel as if the gesture needs to be stopped but conversations will be held before any decision is made.
Club captains, managers and the PFA will be consulted by the Premier League as they look to get a feel for what the consensus is among the game’s major figures. If everyone is keen to continue with the gesture into the 2022/23 season then it will remain despite backlash from some, reports The Sun.
Earlier this season, Liverpool’s Joel Matip backed continuing to take the knee, stating: “It is a sign of awareness that it’s still a big problem with racism”, whilst England and Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings said:“The knee is something that continually needs to be reviewed. Is it still powerful? Is it still making people aware?”
Brentford’s Ivan Toney and Chelsea star Marcos Alonso have opted against taking the knee, whilst Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has also begun standing. Zaha told the FT Business of Football Conference on his decision: “I feel like taking a knee is degrading.
“Growing up, my parents just let me know that I should just be proud to be black, no matter what, and I just think we should stand tall. I think the meaning behind the whole thing is becoming something that we just do now. That’s not enough. I’m not going to take the knee.”
QPR also chose to stop doing the gesture. Their director of football, Les Ferdinand, has previously spoken out against racism. However he claimed taking the knee had become more about PR. “Taking the knee was very powerful but we feel that impact has now been diluted,” he said.
“In the same way ‘Clap For Carers’ was very emotional for us all, it got to a stage where it had run its natural course and the decision was rightly made to stop it. Does that mean we, as a nation, don’t care or appreciate our NHS workers? Of course it doesn’t. No one is more passionate than me about this topic. I have spoken on the matter throughout my footballing life.
“The taking of the knee has reached a point of ‘good PR’ but little more than that. The message has been lost. It is now not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge. What are our plans with this? Will people be happy for players to take the knee for the next 10 years but see no actual progress made? Taking the knee will not bring about change in the game – actions will.”
Despite that England boss Gareth Southgate was a huge believer in taking the knee throughout the Euros. He said: “Most important thing for our players is to know we are totally united on it, we are totally committed to supporting each other, supporting the team. We feel more than ever determined to take the knee through this tournament.”