This week, in light of recent negative crowd reactions and some clubs exploring an alternative to players taking the knee, the PFA has been in consultation with its membership on the issue.
The results were clear; players overwhelmingly support continuing this act of solidarity despite any adverse responses that may be received.
The consultation included a dialogue directly with PFA Delegates and a survey circulated to all Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and Women’s Super League (WSL) squads.
Throughout 2020, PFA members have demonstrated a strong understanding of the societal issues raised across the world and have used their platform to highlight the impact racism has on both individuals and wider communities.
The decision to take the knee before matches was initially made by Premier League captains during Project Restart, to show solidarity with Black people facing discrimination globally.
This powerful symbol of solidarity represents the players’ commitment to anti-racism and is not an endorsement of any political position. It is a peaceful act of unity that highlights a persistent and systemic issue.
PFA Equalities Executive, Jason Lee stated: “The initiative has been player-led from the outset. The purpose of the discussions and survey was to make sure that we were continuing to represent what the players wanted on this issue. We can now take this position forward with authority when in dialogue with media, clubs and the EFL.”
The positive statements from Colchester United and Cambridge United send a clear message that racism will not be tolerated. The PFA commends their actions which should be considered a benchmark of good conduct.
While the Premier League has already committed to teams taking the knee for the duration of the season, players across the EFL have been left in a difficult position following a lack of leadership on the issue.
The survey conducted by the PFA has shown overwhelming support for continuing to take a knee, and we hope this gives the EFL and the clubs involved the information needed to support the players.
The PFA’s primary goal will always be to support members and protect their right to use their platform for change. We will continue to offer our backing to players, in whichever form they choose to protest against racism, and we urge all clubs, leagues and football authorities to do the same.