EXCLUSIVE: Premier League clubs could stop taking the knee as captains could not come to a collective agreement… with some questioning whether the gesture should be reduced or stopped
- Players have backed the anti-racism symbol for more than two seasons
- Captains met with the Premier League to discuss a number of different issues
- They could not come to a collective agreement over taking the knee
- A source at one club fears the gesture ‘had become like wallpaper’
Premier League captains are set to confirm whether they will continue to take the knee next season – with doubts emerging whether the gesture has the backing of all 20 squads.
Players have backed the anti-racism symbol for more than two seasons, taking a knee before every game since football returned following the first pandemic lockdown in 2020.
Now though some feel as if the gesture needs to be dropped but a final decision won’t be confirmed until early this week, ahead of the new Premier League season. The Mail on Sunday has discovered that club captains met with the Premier League on Thursday to discuss a number of issues including taking the knee.
It is understood a collective agreement was not reached after a number of club captains questioned whether the gesture should be reduced or stopped after two years.
A proposal to dramatically reduce the number of games where they take the knee was put forward. It includes taking the knee for the first round of games, and then for No Room For Racism games in October and March. Captains will discuss the issue with squads in the next few days.
Premier League clubs could not come to a collective agreement over whether to drop the taking the knee gesture as an anti-racism symbol
Sources close to the talks believe it is unlikely the gesture will continue before every game. A number of players including Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha have already stopped after voicing doubts the gesture remained effective. A source at one club said that ‘while the motive of taking the knee was brilliant’, he feared it had ‘become like wallpaper’. He added: ‘It is better to take affirmative action to tackle racism.’
Another club source said he believed starting the gesture had been rushed and was not thought through.
He added: ‘The players have put themselves in a difficult position. Some players are worried that calling a complete end to taking the knee could see them accused of withdrawing support for tackling racism.
A final decision on the matter won’t be confirmed until early in the coming week
Other clubs remain adamant that the gesture will remain ahead of all games. One said: ‘We are planning for exactly the same as last season.’
A Premier League spokesman told The Mail on Sunday: ‘This will be a decision that will be left to the captains and players. We will support their wishes.’