England will begin World Cup 2022 by taking a knee ahead of their opening fixture against Iran, in protest of racism and discrimination.
Manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that his stars will make the gesture before kick-off, just as they did during Euro 2020. This alongside the wearing of an armband that the captains of England and Wales will participate in as a sign of unity towards equality.
At the start of the season the Football Association joined the Football Association of Wales and eight other European federations in supporting a season-long OneLove campaign against discrimination. Now, Southgate says his players have decided to continue with taking a knee in Qatar after recent talks.
Gareth Southgate has said that taking the knee is “what we stand for as a team” (Image credit: Getty Images)
“It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time,” said Southgate.
“We feel this is the biggest and we think it’s a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important.”
The Three Lions carried out the anti-racism gesture before their matches in 2020, following the death of George Floyd in 2020. The gesture was also a common feature ahead of matches played in the Premier League during lockdown and up until last season, until it was dropped at the start of this season.
England players during a training session at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar (Image credit: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)
Premier League players have agreed to take the knee during the season at various points where they deem it to be necessary.
Top-flight matches between October 8 and 16 were dedicated to the No Room for Racism campaign this season, with players making the gesture ahead of those fixtures.
“We support the decision made by players to take the knee at specific moments during the season and we will use these matches to further promote anti-discrimination and educate fans,” chief executive of the Premier League, Richard Masters, said at the time.