FIFA World Cup 2022: Why do footballers take the knee?

England’s gamers have taken the knee earlier than all their matches within the group stage of the Qatar World Cup.

Here’s a have a look at the historical past of the anti-racism gesture in sport:


Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, then a participant of Nationwide Soccer League (NFL) facet San Francisco 49ers, declined to face for the U.S. nationwide anthem earlier than a pre-season match in 2016 and knelt in one other recreation, setting off a debate about race relations, policing and the blending of politics and sports activities.

Kaepernick was later joined in kneeling throughout pre-match renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by many NFL gamers to name consideration to what they noticed as a sample of racism within the remedy of African-Individuals by U.S. police.

Kaepernick turned a free agent after that season and has not been signed by one other group since. His activism was seen by some as a cause why groups have been cautious of signing him. The protests additionally drew the ire of then U.S. President Donald Trump, who referred to as for the NFL to ban gamers who kneel in the course of the anthem.

Wales and England gamers take knee earlier than the beginning of the World Cup group B soccer match between England and Wales, on the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photograph/Pavel Golovkin)


The Black Lives Matter trigger was taken up by Premier League golf equipment in 2020 after the demise of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

England’s top-flight golf equipment wore the Black Lives Matter emblem on their shirts earlier than it was changed by “No Room for Racism”. England’s males’s and girls’s groups have knelt earlier than video games since 2020, initially in solidarity with protests over Floyd’s demise after which in help of equality.

Athletes in different sports activities have lent help for the motion, most notably Japanese tennis participant Naomi Osaka on the 2020 U.S. Open the place she wore a masks with the title of a unique Black American sufferer of police brutality earlier than her matches.

Osaka, who has a Japanese mom and Haitian father, went on to win the title and was lauded for her activism.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, the lone Black driver in Formulation One, has additionally been a supporter of the Black Lives Matter motion with anti-racism gestures earlier than races.


Critics of the protest, together with conservative politicians, say it politicises sport and that they dislike the gesture’s hyperlinks to the organised aspect of Black Lives Matter, which some contemplate a far-left motion.

A YouGov ballot revealed in June final yr discovered that 54% of supporters in England backed gamers “taking the knee” with 39% opposed.

England supervisor Gareth Southgate has been supportive and collaborating within the gesture on the sidelines, saying that black gamers have to really feel solidarity after a bombardment of abuse on-line and at some matches. He mentioned his gamers had “made our stand as a group” after they have been booed by Hungary followers when taking the knee earlier than their pleasant in Budapest final yr. England took the knee in the course of the European Championship final yr.

Premier League groups determined to restrict taking the knee to just some vital video games from the 2022-23 season.


England have been joined by Wales in taking the knee earlier than the 2 groups confronted off of their remaining Group B encounter on Nov. 29. It was the primary time on the match that Wales made the gesture

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