Why are Premier League players no longer taking a knee? 2022/23 season decision explained

Captains of Premier League clubs decide to take knee on specific moments during 2022/23 season

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Footballers will no longer take the knee before every Premier League game but have instead decided to take the knee on specific moments throughout the season in a bid to “amplify the message that racism has no place in football or society” a statement has said.

The gesture first started in June 2020 in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter campaign after NFL player Colin Kaepernick took the knee during the US national anthem in protest against racism.

Subsequently the knee was taken ahead of EFL fixtures and England took the knee ahead of international fixtures as well.

However, over a year on and with the new season just around the corner, the 20 captains of Premier League teams have decided to change the frequency of the action and will take it on specific days in order keep the message alive.

This decision has been supported by the Premier League and players and match officials will wear ‘No Room for Racism’ badges on their shirts.

Additionally, £238,000 is set to be donated to youth clubs on behalf of the club captains after £119,000 was raised from the ‘No Room for Racism’ sleeve badges which featured on club shirts last season, with the Premier League matching the amount.

When will Footballers take the knee?

Instead of taking the knee ahead of every game, the captains have decided to take the knee during this weekend’s opening games of the season, at the dedicated No Room for Racism matches which take place in October and March, the Boxing Day fixtures after the World Cup has finished and on the last day of the season.

The knee will also be taken on FA and EFL cup final days.

Rashford in June 2020Rashford in June 2020
Rashford in June 2020

What has been said?

In a statement from the league and the Premier League captains, they said: “The Premier League supports the players’ decision and, alongside the clubs, will use these opportunities to elevate anti-racism messaging as part of the League’s No Room for Racism Action Plan.

The captains said: “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.”

The PFA Chief executive, Maheta Molango, also released a statement which Sky Sports have reported. Molango said: We’ve always been clear that choosing whether to take the knee should be a personal decision for each individual.

“We’ve spoken to players about this and what we’ve heard is that they want to find a balance. They don’t want the gesture of taking the knee to become so routine, so that it potentially loses its impact.

“However, they are also committed to using their platform and their voice to continue to bring attention to what remains an extremely important issue, not just in England but around the world.”

When does the Premier League start?

The first round of Premier League fixtures start this weekend with Crystal Palace hosting Arsenal on Friday 5 August at 8pm BST.

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