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English soccer players ‘overwhelmingly in support’ of taking a knee before games

PREMIER LEAGUE By Reuters | December 18th 2020

Soccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - December 6, 2020, Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before the match [Reuters, Jon Super]

English soccer players are “overwhelmingly in support” of continuing to take a knee as an act of solidarity against racial inequality, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) said on Friday.

The players’ union consulted members on whether they wanted to continue after a series of incidents where fans booed the gesture, and how best the leagues, clubs and players should express the anti-discriminatory message.

The result of the survey showed the players “support continuing this act of solidarity despite any adverse responses that may be received”.

A number of Millwall, Colchester United and Cambridge United fans booed their players taking a knee before kickoff in the past two weeks.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, left, and Tottenham's Serge Aurier battle for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, Friday, June 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Glyn Kirk, Pool)

The union said there had been a lack of leadership for the English Football League (EFL) players, who have been left in a “difficult position” following the recent negative crowd reaction at several matches.

PFA equalities executive Jason Lee said the initiative had been player-led from the outset.

“The purpose of the discussions and survey was to make sure that we were continuing to represent what the players wanted on this issue,” he said.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Sheffield United v Manchester United - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - December 17, 2020, Manchester United and Sheffield United players kneel in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before the match [Reuters, Laurence Griffiths]

“We can now take this position forward with authority when in dialogue with media, clubs and the EFL.”

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