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EFL reaffirms support for players taking the knee in upcoming season

AFC Bournemouth Kneeling file photo
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

The English Football League has reaffirmed its support to players and staff who wish to take the knee during the forthcoming season.

For over a year, players have made a personal choice to perform the act of protest in a bid to bring attention to racial injustice and inequality.

Ahead of the weekend’s opening round of EFL fixtures, the governing body has issued a statement insisting “where players choose to take the knee to oppose discrimination, they have support from the League”.

The EFL also revealed that throughout the 2021-22 campaign it will be promoting a new ‘Together Against Discrimination’ matchday message which will see clubs across all three divisions adopting a unified position on a matchday reiterating that racism, discrimination and abuse is not welcome in the game or in communities. New sleeve badges have also been issued to be worn by players’ and officials’ kits.

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EFL chief executive Trevor Birch said: “The EFL takes the issue of tackling racism and discrimination, in all its forms, very seriously, but we must always strive to do more.

“That is why we commissioned an independent research on the issue of anti-discrimination on a matchday to help inform our approach.

“We have heard the message from players who wish to take the knee loud and clear, and they have the EFL’s support. Likewise, we support any individuals who take a stand against prejudice in other ways, and we must show respect and support to our clubs and players whichever way they choose.

“Both within the EFL and across the wider game we are committed to working collectively as we are stronger when we all work together against discrimination.

“The message is clear: prejudice and abuse – whether in the street, in the stadium or online – has no place in society, and the EFL will not accept it. Football is a game with many opinions. But those who do not share our opinion on removing racism and discrimination from our game are not welcome.”