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Kick It Out chairman suggests players could take a knee before matches | Football News

Sanjay Bhandari: “You can’t shake hands before kick off, so maybe they could replace it with a new pre-match ritual”

Last Updated: 08/06/20 7:29pm

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (centre) began the practice of taking a knee

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (centre) began the practice of taking a knee

Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari has suggested footballers could start ‘taking a knee’ prior to matches, in a show of solidarity with the anti-racism
demonstrations sweeping the world.

Thousands of people have taken part in Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the world following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the practice of taking a knee during the American national anthem in 2016, as a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the USA.

While Bhandari stressed any mass mobilisation must come from footballers themselves, he suggested it would be a ‘strong gesture’ if they started taking the knee before matches.

He said: “I think it’s at the point now where something should be organised.

2:37
Geraint Hughes discusses Raheem Sterling’s latest comments supporting the racism protests and looks back at some of the incidents Sterling has dealt with

Geraint Hughes discusses Raheem Sterling’s latest comments supporting the racism protests and looks back at some of the incidents Sterling has dealt with

“I would love to see every club doing something together but it has to be completely up to the players. It would be a fantastic signal if every club took a knee before a game.

“You can’t shake hands before kick off, so maybe they could replace it with a new pre-match ritual.

“We’re having some conversations to see what the appetite is. I think it would be a strong gesture of solidarity if everybody took a knee, but it would be an even stronger symbol if it came from the players.”

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho displays a message calling for justice after George Floyd's death

Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho displays a message calling for justice after George Floyd’s death

The FA has indicated it will take a “common sense” approach to such protests and Bhandari said, while the response from the authorities provided cause for optimism, gestures in the direction of anti-racism must be transformed into something more tangible.

He said: “It is a small but significant step and I certainly value and appreciate that FIFA and UEFA and the FA have got it right in their response, judging by the tone and the public mood.

“All these gestures are important but our challenge now is to go beyond these gestures and confront these structural inequalities, not just in football but in society, politics and business.

3:27
Sprinter and Sky Scholar Imani Lansiquot is determined to turn a week of pain and frustration into positive action for Black Lives Matter

Sprinter and Sky Scholar Imani Lansiquot is determined to turn a week of pain and frustration into positive action for Black Lives Matter

“For those people who are influencers, who have provided these gestures of solidarity, I’ve got one request – you need to stay involved.

“We are going to need your help to solve those structural problems.

“We are going to need teamwork and determination and, once the media spotlight has gone. we need to carry on spreading the message.”

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