Why are England players taking the knee at the World Cup?

Phil Foden and Reece James take the knee whilst playing for England

England players will take the knee once again (Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

England continue their World Cup campaign against the USA on Friday night – but before their clash with the Americans they will take the knee at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

The sight of the Three Lions taking the knee will be a surprise to many, given that players in the Premier League have stopped doing so on a regular basis.

Here is why England are taking the knee at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Why are England players taking the knee at the World Cup?

Gareth Southgate’s side will take the knee before every World Cup game as an anti-racism gesture.

Speaking about the decision, Southgate said: ‘We’ve discussed taking the knee and we feel we should.

‘It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time.

‘We feel this is the biggest and we think it’s a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important.’

The action is an anti-racism gesture (Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Players first took the knee in June 2020 when the Premier League resumed after the first lockdown, and the gesture had been present at the start of every game up until the end of the 2021/22 season, including for all of England’s international fixtures in that period.

The Premier League announced at the end of last season that players would stop taking the knee before every game in the 2022/23 season, and the England team followed suit.

England players featuring in the Premier League will instead only take the knee on Boxing Day, No Room For Racism campaign weeks, the FA and Carabao Cup finals and the last day of the season.

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This will be the first time this season that the England team have performed any anti-racism gesture, having not done so for the Nations League matches back in September.

Footballers originally took the knee in an act of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign after George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane had been planning to wear the OneLove armband for the Iran match in support of the LGBTQ+ community, but at the eleventh hour the FA announced Kane would not be wearing it amidst fears the England captain would be booked before the first whistle.

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