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Crystal Palace and Arsenal players DO take a knee before the opening game of Premier League season

Crystal Palace and Arsenal players DO kneel for the opening game of the new Premier League season – despite top team captains opting to limit gesture use to ‘key moments’ only

  • Arsenal and Crystal Palace stars knelt before their match at Selhurst Park
  • Premier League players have agreed to perform the gesture at certain times
  • But teams will show their support for anti-racism in the opening round of the matches

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Arsenal and Crystal Palace players got on their knees for their Premier League game on Friday night, despite deciding to only perform the gesture at ‘key moments’.

As Sports post predicted on Tuesday, the pre-match gesture will no longer take place before every game this season, but Eagles and Gunners players have chosen to show their commitment to anti-discrimination before the campaign’s first game.

Top players are set to take to their knees during the opening round of matches that started with Palace v Arsenal, then again on Boxing Day, the FA Cup and League Cup finals, the last day of the season and weeks in which the No The Room For Racism campaign is active in October and November.

In a collective statement, the top captains said: “We have decided to pick key moments during the season to get on our knees to emphasize our unity against all forms of racism while continuing to show solidarity for a common cause.

“We remain resolutely committed to eradicating racial prejudice and building an inclusive society with respect and equal opportunity for all.”

Club skippers met a week ago to discuss a number of issues. While some still supported taking the knee, there were opposing views from some who felt the gesture had run its course.

Arsenal and Crystal Palace players knelt before their first Premier League clash, despite top stars opting to only perform the gesture at key moments

Arsenal and Crystal Palace players knelt before their first Premier League clash, despite top stars opting to only perform the gesture at key moments

Premier League clubs have decided to reduce the number of times they sit on the knee

Premier League clubs have decided to reduce the number of times they sit on the knee

Premier League clubs have decided to reduce the number of times they sit on the knee

A compromise has now been found to ensure it remains part of the season, but only for certain matches. Originally they said they would not be on their knees, but Bournemouth’s players will now perform the anti-racism gesture on the agreed days.

While support for equality among top footballers remains strong, there was some hesitation during last week’s discussions to make a final decision on how to proceed.

The act of kneeling before each game was first introduced in 2020 during Project Restart as a show of solidarity after George Floyd’s brutal murder by a Minneapolis police officer.

They now only kneel at 'important moments', also on the opening weekend

They now only kneel at 'important moments', also on the opening weekend

They now only kneel at ‘important moments’, also on the opening weekend

The gesture has continued despite criticism that the act had political connotations.

Sources have indicated that Sports post during the summer when certain figures were keen to scrap the gesture because it was too divisive.

Confirming the news, a statement read: “Ahead of the new season, Premier League club captains have reaffirmed their commitment to fighting racism and all forms of discrimination.

“The players have decided to use specific moments during the upcoming campaign to get on their knees, to reinforce the message that racism has no place in football or society.

“The Premier League supports the players’ decision and, together with the clubs, will seize these opportunities to elevate anti-racism messages as part of the League’s No Room for Racism action plan.”


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