The gesture of racial non-conformity that was a staple of last season is going to end. The motion took place ahead of last Saturday’s Community Shield match between Liverpool and Manchester City. Martin Odegaard and Arsenal supporter Aston McKay spoke of the importance of players taking a knee before games. Following the conference between all 20 top-flight clubs, players decided to take knees at specific games instead. Premier League players say they would no longer take the knee before matches; the campaign began in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in 2020 and has lasted more than two years. Premier League club chiefs reiterated their commitment to combating racism and any forms of discrimination but said players had decided to use particular moments in the forthcoming campaign, starting Friday, to take a knee. Several individual clubs and players recently announced that they would cease taking knees, and the Premier League has followed suit over two years after it was first introduced.
Those notable moments would include the first and final games of the 2022-23 campaign, with players still taking the knee before kick-off this weekend. Players and staff members will also kneel before the first and last matches of the 2022-23 campaign, along with particular No Room For Racism game rounds in October and March. Players will still take the knee before specific rounds of fixtures, including the FA Cup and Carabao Cup Finals, the Boxing Day fixtures with the Premier League club’s captains and players who represented feeling the message against racism would be amplified if used more sparingly. Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace was the first Premier League player to avoid taking the knee, claiming that the gesture was insufficient.
Players will take their knees in the first game of next season’s fixtures, dedicated No Room For Racism gamedays in October and March, and Boxing Day fixtures after the end of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. Before the decision was made to reduce knee-taking, Sanjay Bhandari, the president of the anti-racism charity Kick It Out, said that he would support the players of the Premier League whatever decisions they made. Maheta Molango, the first female and BAME executive director of professional footballers association The Professional Footballers Association, said the decision by Premier League club captains was made to strike a balance on how they can demonstrate support.
The Premier League has also stated that £238,000 will be contributed to several youth groups on behalf of the team captains, with £119,000 originating from royalties on ‘No Room for Racism‘ sleeve badges sold on the club jerseys in 2021/22 and the Premier League match that sum.