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English Premier League clubs to end anti-racism protest before each match

Liverpool's Thiago, centre, and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne take a knee before the FA Community Shield soccer match between Liverpool and Manchester City at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Liverpool's Thiago, centre, and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne take a knee before the FA Community Shield soccer match between Liverpool and Manchester City at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

English Premier League football players will no longer take the knee before every match in the upcoming season, confining the anti-racism gesture to selected games, a statement says.

“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,” club captains say in the announcement on the Premier League web site.

The Premier League says it supported the captains’ decision, and would elevate anti-racism messaging as part of its “No Room for Racism” campaign — words that already feature on players’ sleeves.

Premier League players began taking the knee at the start of every game in June 2020, when the season resumed following a Covid shutdown, a month after the killing in the United States of George Floyd.

Ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling to protest against racial injustice in 2016, and the gesture has become a familiar sight across a range of sports since Floyd’s murder by a US police officer.

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