Premier League players have decided to no longer take a knee before every match of the 2022-23 season. The gesture will be seen at “significant moments” during the upcoming season as a symbol against racism. Players agreed to take a knee in June 2020 to show support for the Black Lives Matter campaign but now the gesture will only be used on certain special occasions to “amplify the message that racism has no place in football or society.”
The captains of all Premier League teams agreed that the players will take the knee in the weekend’s opening round of games which will be dedicated to “No Room for Racism” matches in October and March, on Boxing Day, the final round of the season and the FA Cup and League Cup finals.
All the Premier League captains released a statement addressing the issue which said, “We have decided to select significant moments to take the knee during the season to highlight our unity against all forms of racism, and in so doing we continue to show solidarity for a common cause. We remain resolutely committed to eradicate racial prejudice, and to bring about an inclusive society with respect and equal opportunities for all.”
But last season, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha had taken a similar decision as he stopped taking the knee before the start of play. Zaha believed that the action of taking the knee was losing its meaning and was just another part of the pre-game rituals. Hence, the Ivory Coast player decided to stand up
Addressing this decision, he released a statement saying, “My decision to stand at kick-off has been public knowledge for a couple of weeks now. There is no right or wrong decision, but for me personally, I feel kneeling has just become a part of the pre-match routine and at the moment it doesn’t matter whether we kneel or stand, some of us still continue to receive abuse.”
“As a society, I feel we should be encouraging better education in schools, and social media companies should be taking stronger action against people who abuse others online—not just footballers,” Zaha said.