Kalvin Phillips makes vow in fight against racism as Premier League declares stance on taking the knee

Kalvin Phillips said Leeds United and the rest of the Premier League remained joined together in the fight against racism as English football's top flight declared its unwavering stance on taking the knee.

By Lee Sobot
Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 11:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 11:39 am

Players have taken a knee at Premier League games since last June when football resumed amidst the global fight against coronavirus.

The gesture was first introduced by American football player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 in protest against the lack of attention given to racial inequality.

England, though, were booed by pockets of supporters when taking the knee in friendlies ahead of this summer's European Championships.

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The Three Lions continued to take the knee throughout the competition in which Whites midfielder Phillips started every single game as Gareth Southgate's side made the final.

The EFL then reaffirmed its support to players and staff who wish to make the gesture on Tuesday morning.

Later that day, the Premier League announced that players from all 20 top flight clubs would continue to take the knee in the 2021-22 campaign to highlight their opposition to racism.

Leeds will begin their second season back amongst the country's elite with a clash against arch rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, August 14 and Phillips has stated the importance of players sticking together in the fight against racism.

TOGETHER: Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips, centre, takes the knee alongside England team mates Harry Maguire, left, and Declan Rice, right, before the Three Lions take on Czech Republic at Euro 2020. Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

"Leeds United Football Club as well as all other players in the Premier League will continue to show our unity against racism by taking the knee this season," said Phillips.

"A reminder that there is no room for racism anywhere in society."

The Premier League said in their statement released on Tuesday that the decision to continue taking a knee was wholeheartedly supported by English football's top flight.

The statement said that players and match officials would also continue to wear a No Room For Racism sleeve badge on their shirts.

This, they said, acted as a constant reminder of the commitment by the Premier League, its clubs, players and PGMOL to eradicate racism.

The players said: “We feel now, more than ever, it is important for us to continue to take the knee as a symbol of our unity against all forms of racism. We remain resolutely committed to our singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect and equal opportunities for all.”

Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive, said: “The Premier League, our clubs, players and match officials have a long-standing commitment to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination.

"Following our club captains’ meeting, that collective commitment was reaffirmed and the Premier League will continue to support the players’ strong voice on this important issue.

“Racism in any form is unacceptable and No Room For Racism makes our zero-tolerance stance clear.

"The Premier League will continue to work with our clubs, players and football partners to bring about tangible change to remove inequality from our game.”

The Premier League statement said: "Since launching in March 2019, No Room For Racism has brought together the Premier League’s wide-ranging work promoting equality and inclusion and tackling discrimination across all areas of football.

"Earlier this year, the Premier League announced the No Room For Racism Action Plan which outlined a series of commitments to create greater access to opportunities and career progression for Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups in football, and actions against racial prejudice."

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