US and Team GB women’s soccer teams kneel before their Olympic Games opening games after IOC relaxes rules on political gestures
The women’s soccer teams of the USA and Team GB were among those to kneel today for their opening games at the Olympics.
All 22 players took part in the gesture ahead of the kickoff between four-time Olympic champions USA and Sweden in Tokyo, an hour after Team GB and Chile did the same in Sapporo.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently relaxed rules on protests during the Games, easing a long-standing ban on political protests at the global sporting event.
Team GB’s Lucy Bronze kneels in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of their opening match against Chile at the Olympics
Alex Morgan from the US and Hanna Glas from Sweden join the gesture at the start of their clash in Tokyo
Athletes are now allowed to kneel before the game to denounce racial injustice, speak to the media and post their views online, or wear clothes with a protest slogan at a press conference.
But political statements at events, victory ceremonies and in the Olympic Village are still out of the question, the IOC said.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee’s chef de mission said the team would also be on their knees for their match against Australia later Wednesday in Tokyo.
All 22 players participated in the gesture ahead of the kick-off between four-time Olympic champions USA and Sweden in Tokyo
Taking the knee, which has been widely used in the Premier League since the Black Lives Matter protests last year, proved controversial in the Euro 2020 tournament, with some fans booing the gesture.
But the ladies at the Olympics were not bothered by that, because they played in front of empty stadiums.
Great Britain won the Group E opener in Sapporo 2-0, with Manchester City striker Ellen White scoring twice and a goal ruled out by VAR for offside.
The matches will be played in front of empty stadiums due to the ongoing Covid situation in Japan
Hege Riise’s side aims to become the first British team to win an Olympic football medal.
Lauren Hemp headed the ball for Ellen White for a close-in goal in the 18th minute. White’s second goal was a volley to the far post in the 75th.
Chile, number 37 in the world, made its Olympic debut. Chile, known as La Roja, qualified for Tokyo by beating Cameroon 2-1 in an intercontinental play-off.
Meanwhile, Sweden delivered a shocking result, beating favorites the US 3-0.