English Premiership

Footballers 'overwhelmingly support' taking a knee, says union

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Manchester City v Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium (Getty Images)
Manchester City v Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium (Getty Images)

Players "overwhelmingly support" continuing to take a knee in support of the fight against racial injustice, the Professional Footballers' Association said on Friday.

Teams at Premier League and English Football League games have been making the gesture since matches restarted in June following the coronavirus shutdown.

The players' union said it had consulted its membership on the issue after booing at some stadiums, including at EFL games hosted by Millwall and Colchester earlier this month.

The PFA also accused the EFL, which oversees the second, third and fourth tiers of English football, of showing "a lack of leadership" over the issue.

"The results were clear - players overwhelmingly support continuing this act of solidarity despite any adverse responses that may be received," the PFA said in a statement.

The consultation included a survey circulated to all Premier League, English Football League and Women's Super League squads.

"This powerful symbol of solidarity represents the players' commitment to anti-racism and is not an endorsement of any political position," the statement added.

"It is a peaceful act of unity that highlights a persistent and systemic issue."

The Football Association is investigating following the incidents of booing.

Millwall Supporters' Club said their protest was targeted at the political views of the Black Lives Matter organisation, and was not motivated by racism.

QPR director of football Les Ferdinand has previously spoken about how he feels the gesture has become "diluted" and is now "little more than good PR".

But the PFA feels the continued support for taking a knee among players provides the mandate for competitions to give it their full backing.

"While the Premier League has already committed to teams taking the knee for the duration of the season, players across the EFL have been left in a difficult position following a lack of leadership on the issue," it said.

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