‘It was so choreographed and so powerful’: Kick It Out chairman urges Premier League stars to continue Black Lives Matter protests after players and officials took a knee before kick off
- Premier League players have shown support to Black Lives Matter movement
- They have been urged to keep up the pressure to force change in football
- Players and officials took a knee after first whistle at Villa Park on Wednesday
- There were similar scenes ahead of the second game at the Etihad
Premier League players have been urged to continue their gestures of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement and keep up the pressure to force change in football.
The top-flight returned with a powerful moment when players and officials took a knee following the first whistle in the opening game between Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
There were similar scenes ahead of Wednesday’s second game between Manchester City and Arsenal.
Premier League players have been urged to continue showing support for Black Lives Matter
All players had ‘Black Lives Matter’ slogan on back of shirts instead of their names
Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari said: ‘It was fantastic, particularly the way it was done in the Aston Villa-Sheffield United game.
‘It was so choreographed and so powerful. It was an incredibly moving moment. It is a gesture of solidarity that we have had enough and it is time for change and time for action.
‘The players have a platform and it is great that the authorities have actually enabled them to use this platform in this particular way without the fear of sanction.
‘I welcome that and that’s not just the Premier League that’s also the FA, UEFA and FIFA. It is really important we have these gestures of solidarity.
‘I know sometimes people can feel it is just a gesture but as Barack Obama said, the cumulative effect of these gestures can create pressure to act and so I am urging the players, continue to make these gestures, continue creating the pressure to act.’
Aston Villa and Sheffield United players took a knee for the first eight seconds after kick off
Manchester City and Arsenal players repeated the gesture in their late game on Wednesday
Player names on the back of shirts will be replaced by the phrase Black Lives Matter for the first 12 games following the league’s resumption.
Players will also have badges on their shirts with the same message for the remainder of the season.
Conversations are ongoing among the game’s authorities to discuss how they can improve the issue of representation and diversity in football, a debate which has been reopened as the BLM campaign has gained fresh momentum.
As revealed by Sportsmail on Tuesday, informal talks have been held between the FA and Premier League about introducing a requirement that clubs have at least one black, Asian or ethnic minority coach on their first team staff which has been backed by many of the league’s players.
Bhandari added: ‘We’ve seen these terrible events, like George Floyd’s death that have sparked this global movement and we have to do something. We have to turn it into meaningful action.
‘The most meaningful action that football can take is to set targets and create all the internal structures to enable you to meet those targets. We are not going to change football unless boardrooms and cascading down represents the people that play the game.’
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