Gareth Southgate confirms England players will take a knee before first World Cup game today
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Gareth Southgate has confirmed his England side will take the knee before their World Cup opener against Iran today (November 21).
The Three Lions have been carrying out the gesture since the death of George Floyd in 2020.
The BBC reports that the team will continue with the action during the tournament, despite not doing so in the recent Nations League.
Southgate allowed the leadership team to decide whether they would carry on with the gesture.
Speaking at a press conference, he said, via BBC: "It's what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time.
"We feel this is the biggest and we think it's a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important."
Players in the English Premier League had been taking the knee before matches following the return of football in 2020 after the Covid-19 shutdown.
However, earlier this year it was decided that the knee would be taken only at specific points of the season, rather than before every match.
It won’t be the only form of activism the team is set to undertake.
Captain Harry Kane is expected to wear a One Love armband in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, despite Qatar’s harsh penalties on same-sex relationships.
He could face a fine or even a yellow card for breaching FIFA’s equipment regulations.
According to BBC, the Football Association wrote to FIFA in September about the armband, stating that they were willing to take a fine for their position.
Nine other countries across Europe are also planning on wearing the One Love armband to promote diversity and inclusion.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino and secretary had previously asked the 32 teams to concentrate on football rather than ‘political’ differences.
A letter penned to the nations read: “We know football does not live in a vacuum, and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world.
“But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”