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29th Oct 2020

Krasnodar players criticised after only four take knee for Black Lives Matter

Wayne Farry

Only four of the starting eleven took the knee before the match started

Members of the Krasnodar first team were the recipients of scathing criticism on social media on Wednesday night after just four of the 11 starting players took the knee in support of Black Lives Matter.

Taking the knee in solidarity with the BLM movement – which opposes police brutality and promotes racial equality – has become customary before matches since football clubs and organisations began to show their support following the killing of black man George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in May.

The gesture is intended to show solidarity against all forms of racism.

All 11 Chelsea players took the knee prior to kick-off, as well as the referee, while seven of Krasnodar’s players chose not to do so.

This led to criticism on Twitter, with users also calling out broadcaster BT Sport for not keeping the camera on the players who refused to take the knee in a bid to “shame them”.

Chelsea defeated the Russian side 4-0, with goals from Callum Hudson-Odoi, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic, in a match played in front of a socially distanced crowd.

Russian football has long been blighted with accusations of open racism from both fans, and players. In August of last year, fans of Zenit St. Petersburg protested the signing of Malcolm, a black Brazilian footballer who signed from Barcelona.

During a match against Krasnodar in which he made a substitute appearance, a section of Zenit fans held up a banner which read: ‘RIP Selection 12’ – a reference to a manifesto created by supporters which detailed their vision for the club’s transfer policy, which includes not signing black players.