Scotland players WILL now take the knee with England before their game
Scotland WILL kneel at Wembley: Scottish players REVERSE decision to stand before kick-off against England and will take the knee ‘as a symbol of solidarity’ with their opponents as Boris urges fans NOT to boo the BLM act
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Scotland have reversed their decision and will take the knee with England’s players in a show of solidarity at Wembley next week.
The Scotland team had confirmed only a day ago that they would stand against racism rather than take the knee, but have now made a U-turn.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke held discussions with his players this week about reversing their decision taken in March to no longer take the knee. The SFA announced on Thursday they would continue to stand but the reaction to it has prompted a re-think just 24 hours later.
‘In light of divisive and inaccurate comments being perpetuated by individuals and groups, whose views we denounce in the strongest terms, we have reflected today as a group,’ head coach Steve Clarke said.
‘We will continue to take a stand – together, as one – for our matches at Hampden Park. For our match at Wembley, we will stand against racism and kneel against ignorance.’
Scotland have reversed their decision to not take a knee when they play England next week
A minority of England supporters have jeered the players for the gesture at recent games
Southampton striker Che Adams, who recently switched his international allegiance, is the only BAME member of the Scotland squad for Euro 2020.
The sudden change of stance from Scotland’s players comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged supporters to stop booing the Black Live Matters act after England fans jeered the national team when they made the gesture before their Euro 2020 warm-up matches.
Asked to give a categorical answer on whether Mr Johnson supported the England team taking a knee, the premier’s official spokesman said: ‘Yes. The Prime Minister respects the rights of all people to peacefully protest and make their feeling known about injustices.
‘I think the Prime Minister has spoken before about his desire for everybody to get behind the national team and as I said, the PM would like to see everyone getting behind the team to cheer them on, not boo.’
England manager Gareth Southgate has stressed they remain united in their desire to keep taking a knee and admitted the booing felt like ‘criticism of his players’.
Boris Johnson (right) has today urged football fans to stop booing players taking the knee
England manager Gareth Southgate has spoken eloquently about the reasons for the gesture
‘It’s not something on behalf of our black players I wanted to hear because it feels as though it’s a criticism of them and insisted they were not making a political gesture,’ Southgate said.
‘I think we have got a situation where some people seem to think it’s a political stand that they don’t agree with.
‘That’s not the reason the players are doing it. We’re supporting each other. I was pleased that was drowned out by the majority of the crowd.
‘We can’t deny the fact that it happened. I think the most important thing for our players to know is all their teammates and all the staff are very supportive.
‘I think the majority of people understand it. I think some people aren’t quite understanding the message. I suppose we’re seeing that across a number of football grounds at the moment.’
Taking the knee before games has seen a mixed response since fans have been allowed back into stadiums while some clubs decided to stop making the gesture before games before the end of last season.
Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player to stop kneeling, citing that it had ‘lost all meaning’ and was ‘degrading’ as he opted to ‘stand against racism’ instead.
Croatia will leave decision to take a knee to individual players for Sunday’s game with England
Earlier on this week, Southgate was criticised by England legend John Barnes, who claimed he ‘does not understand how complex racism is’ in a furious rant on Twitter about taking the knee.
The former Three Lions star hit out at the national team boss over his insistence that the players will continue to make the gesture as they have a duty to ‘raise awareness’ over racism and inequality.
Barnes, who was a prominent figure in England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals in 1990, wrote in response to one follower: ‘Of course he should support his players… but what does HE think… forget the players… that’s what an ally is… someone who believes HE’S doing the right thing, not one who follows the crowd, as the crowd may change direction.’
In another comment, he said: ‘I’m 100% behind Gareth to try to win the euros but he doesn’t understand how complex racism is and solutions are even more complicated and he and the team are being used by the system to DEFLECT from REAL inequality in the inner cities by SOLELY focusing and concentrating on football.’
England’s Euro 2020 opponents on Sunday Croatia, meanwhile, are set to leave the decision on taking a knee to individual players.
Zlatko Dalic’s squad opted against making the gesture before their final friendly with Belgium and are unlikely to change their stance at Wembley.
The Croatian Football Federation stated that they ‘strongly condemn any and all forms of discrimination’ but will not enforce kneeling on their team.
EACH COUNTRY’S STANCE TO THE KNEE AHEAD OF EURO 2020
Turkey – No confirmation, but not take the knee in recent games
Italy – No confirmation, but did not take against Czech Republic
Wales – Will take the knee
Switzerland – No confirmation, but did not take knee in recent games
Denmark – Will take the knee
Finland – Will take the knee
Belgium – Will take the knee
Russia – Will not take the knee
Netherlands – No confirmation, but players have been vocal in their BLM support
Ukraine – No confirmation, but no evidence to suggest they will
Austria – Will take the knee after joining England in act of solidarity during friendly
North Macedonia – No confirmation, but did not take the knee against Kazakhstan
England – Will take the knee
Scotland – Initially were going to continue to ‘take a stand’ but have now made a U-turn and will take the knee
Croatia – Players given the choice; did not take the knee in most recent friendly game
Czech Republic – Will not take the knee
Spain – No confirmation, have avoided gesture in recent friendlies
Sweden – No confirmation, have avoided gesture in recent friendlies
Poland – Will not take the knee
Slovakia – Will not take the knee
Hungary – Will not take the knee, as was the case against Republic of Ireland
Portugal – No confirmation, but did take knee in recent Spain friendly
France – No confirmation, but star players are in favour of taking the knee
Germany – No confirmation, but did not take the knee in recent friendlies
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