Getting the hang of SUPPORTED by the EFL prior to the start of the season as players ‘REFUSE Alternatives’
Knocked on the knees by the EFL ahead of the start of the post-summer season, where English stars were booed by fans during the pre-match ritual as players reject an alternative anti-racist gesture
- Football League players will continue kneeling next season
- After consultation, players reportedly declined making an alternative gesture
- EFL has now supported the players in their stance with a new campaign
- Gesture has been booed by parts of fans, especially at England matches
The Football League has come out this season in support of players sitting on the knee, as part of the launch of a new anti-discrimination campaign.
The action will resume from this weekend in the Championship, as well as League One and League Two and the divisions governing body is keen to continue supporting players who have made the gesture to raise awareness about racism since the end of the 2019-20 campaign issues.
The EFL has now released a statement before the start of the season, announcing a new match day message ‘Together Against Discrimination’ in which cubs in all three divisions will take a united stance on a match day and reiterate that racism, discrimination and abuse do not welcome’ on and off the field.
It comes amid reports from the Telegraph that players have refused to make an alternative gesture to taking a knee, which has proved controversial among parts of supporters.
This was most notable during the summer, when English stars were booed by some fans for knocking the knee before kick-off at Euro 2020 at Wembley, as well as their two pre-tournament warm-up games at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium.
Footballers kneel before games since the end of the 2019-20 season as a way to make an anti-racist statement
Some players have also chosen to stand up as part of their anti-discrimination protests
While the booing has often been met with loud applause from other fans in support of England’s players, it is still a major point of contention between sections of teams’ fanbases across the country.
However, the EFL claims that in research where they have reached out to clubs, players, fans, the public and stakeholders in and out of the game, there has been more support for taking the knee by respondents.
EFL chief Trevor Birch has claimed that the Football League will continue to support players who protest against any form of discrimination and that fans against these values are ‘not welcome’.
England stars also made the gesture during Euro 2020, including in their latest defeat to Italy (above) at Wembley in July
“The EFL takes the issue of tackling racism and discrimination, in all its forms, very seriously,” Birch said in a statement.
“But we should always strive for more. That’s why we commissioned an independent investigation into the topic of anti-discrimination one match day to inform our approach.
“We’ve heard the message from players who want to take the knee loud and clear, and they have the support of the EFL. Likewise, we support all individuals who take a stand against prejudice in other ways, and we must show respect and support to our clubs and players, whichever way they choose.
“Both within the EFL and throughout the game, we are committed to working together because we are stronger when we all work together against discrimination.
However, the gesture was received with booing by parts of supporters in stadiums
“The message is clear – prejudice and abuse – whether on the street, in the stadium or online, has no place in society – and the EFL will not accept it.
“Football is a game of many opinions. But those who do not share our opinion about removing racism and discrimination from our game are not welcome.’
The EFL also stated that the The Not Today or Any Day brand will remain visible throughout the season. All anti-discrimination activities will take place under this brand, including ‘Together Against Discrimination’ messages on match day and other equality, diversity and inclusion campaigns that are activated throughout the season.
For this campaign, every player and match official will now also wear a new sleeve badge to be worn on their uniforms during all matches.