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Olympics 2020 football: will the Team GB women’s squad take the knee?

Fran Kirby
(Image credit: PA)

Today it was confirmed that Team GB footballers will take the knee ahead of kick-off in all their games at the Tokyo Olympics.

It has become standard practice in the Women’s Super League and elsewhere over the last year as players have shown their support for racial equality.

The International Olympic Committee recently clarified that athletes are permitted to make gestures on the field of play, provided they don’t cause any disruption and show respect for fellow competitors.

In light of this, the Team GB women’s squad have confirmed that they will be taking the knee before their upcoming matches.

The symbolic gesture, which was popularised by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, has become a common sight at grounds across the world since George Floyd was murdered last May.

By taking the knee, players are demonstrating their opposition to racial abuse and discrimination, which remains a major issue in sport and society at large.

Hege Riise’s team start their campaign against Chile on 21 July, the opening day of the Olympic games.

They then face the hosts Japan three days later, followed by their final group match against Canada on 27 July.

Explaining her team’s stance, Riise said: “The players and staff have been taking the knee at club and international level for over a year now and we were all united in our decision to continue doing whatever we can to raise awareness of racism and discrimination in all its forms, standing in unity and solidarity with all those whose lives are affected.

“We are clear that taking the knee is an important symbol of peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality in society and we are glad that the IOC have acknowledged the importance of this form of freedom of expression.

“We will do so with the utmost respect for our fellow competitors, officials and the IOC, with due regard for the ideals that lie at the heart of the Olympic movement.”