Search icon


05th Jun 2021

Gareth Southgate confirms England squad will continue to take the knee

George McKay

A small section of fans booed when the England team took the knee earlier this week

Gareth Southgate has confirmed the England squad will continue to take the knee before games in spite of backlash from a small section of fans.

Earlier this week, the England team took the knee before their friendly game against Austria, prompting boos from the crowd which were swiftly drowned out by cheers and clapping from a larger section of the crowd in attendance.

After the game, Southgate condemned the fans who booed. “It’s not something on behalf of our Black players that I wanted to hear because it feels as though it is a criticism of them,” he said.

He did, however, state that he would discuss whether the squad would continue with the gesture.

He said:

What has happened tonight probably means I need to have another conversation with the players first and foremost because I need see how they feel about it and that’s an important discussion for us to have.

I know there was some concern in the past in March that we were losing some of the impact, so I think after what has happened tonight we need to consider whether we continue to do the same thing, whether we do something different and I’m sure the players will have a really good view on that.

He has now updated us on the situation and confirmed that the England squad will indeed continue to take the knee before games.

“We feel, more than ever, determined to take the knee during this tournament. We accept there might be an adverse reaction, and we’re just gonna ignore that and move forward,” he said.

Southgate touches on an issue that has vibrated through football fans this past year. The initial gesture was in response to the BLM movement, it has now come to be a show of solidarity with Black players in the industry.

The football industry is rife with racism. Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe, and Anthony Martial are just three to have openly spoken about their experiences of racism either in real life or on social media. Taking a knee is a way of showing support for those players and to appear as a unified front against the issue.

Though many people believe it to be a political stance, Southgate has reiterated that it is incorrect. “That is not why players are doing it. We’re supporting each other.”