Southgate confirms England planning to take the knee, wear OneLove armband


England will take a knee before Monday’s World Cup clash with Iran and they intend for Harry Kane to wear the OneLove armband.

Gareth Southgate confirmed England will take a knee before their World Cup opener against Iran on Monday in a show of solidarity against discrimination.

Premier League teams have regularly adopted the gesture following the death of George Floyd in the United States in 2020.

This was dropped as a regular feature ahead of this season, with the Premier League instead announcing that the gesture would be reserved for special occasions.

All Premier League matches between October 8 and 16 saw players take a knee as part of the ‘No Room for Racism’ campaign, with matches on Boxing Day, the final weekend of the season and the FA Cup final also confirmed. The EFL Cup will also return.

It was reported that England players had discussed whether to kneel during the World Cup and Southgate confirmed that the team had reached an agreement.

“We discussed taking the knee, we feel we should,” Southgate told reporters on Sunday.

“That’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long time.

“We understand that in the Premier League, teams only choose to do it for big games, big occasions.

“We feel this is the biggest.

“We think it’s a powerful statement that will go around the world, especially to young people, to show that inclusivity is important.”

Similarly, Southgate and England captain Harry Kane have also reiterated their commitment that the latter will wear the OneLove armband throughout the tournament.

England were one of eight teams to pledge their support to an initiative designed to promote inclusion ahead of the tournament in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are illegal.

FIFA has launched its own “social campaign”, encouraging captains to wear armbands provided by the governing body that promote its own slogans.

In addition, the regulations indicate that the wearing of non-FIFA approved equipment is prohibited, leading to reports that Kane could receive an immediate yellow card for wearing the armband.

But England plans to stand by its decision.

“I think we’ve made it clear as a team, as a staff and as an organization, that we want to wear the armband,” Kane said.

“I know the FA [Football Association] are in talks with FIFA at the moment and I’m sure they’ll have a decision during the game, but we’ve made it clear that we want to wear it.

Southgate continued: “There’s nothing more I can add to what Harry said. I know there are talks going on.”

“A number of European countries have spoken and we have made our position clear and hopefully everything will be resolved before the game.”

However, no gesture in support of women in Iran is forthcoming.

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini – who was arrested for not wearing a hijab properly – in police custody in September sparked mass protests across the country and is the backdrop that has dominated Iran’s World Cup run. .

Iran showed solidarity with protesters – 15,000 of whom were reportedly arrested by the regime – in September by covering their national symbols before a friendly against Senegal, but Southgate said England had no plans to make any gestures of their own.

“I do not feel informed enough to comment on what is happening in Iran, nor is it my place,” he added. “I understand for the Iranian players and the manager that they are in a difficult position, but they are better informed.”

“If their team asked us for some support, we would have to consider it, but at the moment that has not happened.

“We’re all focused on football now. It’s been a complicated build-up in terms of a lot of issues, but our country now expects us to focus on preparing the team as best we can. I don’t think people should expect us to be any different. “

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