Team GB women's football team will take the knee before their Olympics matches 2 months ago

Team GB women's football team will take the knee before their Olympics matches

The team has said that 'lots of conversations' had taken place around the subject

The women's Team GB football team have confirmed that they will be taking the knee before each of their matches at the Olympics this summer.

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A team GB statement said: "The Team GB Women's Football squad have confirmed their intention to take the knee on the field of play ahead of kick-off in their games at the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Football tournament in Japan.

"The squad welcomed recent clarification provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in relation to Rule 50 which now permits athletes to make gestures on the field of play, provided they are done so without disruption and with respect for fellow competitors."

The team's head coach, Hege Riise stated that the team are "clear that taking the knee is an important symbol of peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality in society."

She said: "The players and staff have been taking the knee at club and international level for over a year now and we were all united in our decision to continue doing whatever we can to raise awareness of racism and discrimination in all its forms, standing in unity and solidarity with all those whose lives are affected.

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"We are clear that taking the knee is an important symbol of peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality in society and we are glad that the IOC have acknowledged the importance of this form of freedom of expression.

"We will do so with the utmost respect for our fellow competitors, officials and the IOC, with due regard for the ideals that lie at the heart of the Olympic movement."

The IOC had previously stated that athletes and competitors would not be allowed to take the knee or perform any political gestures before competing in events.

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However, this rule was recently clarified by the body, with athletes now permitted to make gestures on the field of play, provided they are done so without disruption and with respect for fellow competitors

England and Manchester City captain Steph Houghton, who will play for Team GB in Tokyo and has been named as one of three joint captains in the team, said that the team had had "a lot of conversations" about performing the gesture.

She told Sky Sports: "We've been taking the knee in our club matches in the WSL and previous international matches, and we knew as a squad this was something that we wanted to talk about first and foremost - it's not just a quick decision, we've had lots of conversations."

The team play their opening game of the Tokyo Olympics on July 21 when they face Chile. This is followed by matches against hosts Japan three days later and then Canada on July 27.

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