Will Scotland take the knee against England in Euro 2020? What the players have said so far
Prior to the tournament, Scotland boss Steve Clarke had said his side would ‘stand up to racism’ rather than take the knee during the tournament.
It’s been a subject of much discussion since the beginning of the tournament.
The squad had previously taken the knee since the anti-racism gesture was introduced last summer as part of the Premier League’s project restart. The move saw clubs across the country sporting ‘Black Lives Matter’ logos on the shirts of the players, before replacing it with a ‘No Room for Racism’ logo ahead of the 20/21 campaign.
However, the Scotland team opted to stand up to racism in their Euro 2020 opener – a 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic – a similar stance to the one taken during their World Cup qualifying campaign, which began in March.
At the time, Scotland’s decision coincided with the stance of Scottish Premiership clubs at the time, such as Motherwell and Rangers, who had decided to switch gestures in a bid to reinforce the anti-racism message.
Meanwhile Group D rivals, Gareth Southgate’s England, had earlier confirmed they would continue to take the knee throughout the tournament, in a bid to show solidarity with the anti-racism campaign. This decision came in spite of being greeted with unsavoury boos during their warm up games.
The Three Lions were met with audible jeers during their games against Austria and Romania while taking the knee, and poured scorn on claims the move was politically motivated, with England defender Tyrone Mings adding players are ‘trying to educate or inform’ by continuing to take the knee.
However, many fans had urged the Scotland side to reconsider their position on taking the knee for the Wembley showcase, citing it would show solidarity in the fight against racism with their oldest rivals.
What had the Scotland squad said about taking the knee prior to Euro 2020?
Captain Andy Robertson had said: "It is important we continue to tackle the issue of racism and raise awareness of the need to change people's mindsets but also their behaviours.
"Prior to our World Cup qualifiers in March we spoke as a group and felt that taking a stand was the best way for us to show solidarity and also to reinforce the need for meaningful change in society."
A statement from the Scottish FA followed on from Robertson’s comments, saying: “The squad, coaching staff and backroom members will stand up to racism ahead of the Group D matches against Czech Republic, England and Croatia."
What have the Scotland squad said about taking the knee against England?
Despite the Scottish FA, Andy Robertson and manager Steve Clarke previously insisting they would “stand against racism” rather than kneel - with Clarke in particular claiming he felt taking the knee had become “diluted” - the squad u-turned on their decision only 24 hours later.
The Scotland players have agreed they will take the knee in this Friday’s Euro 2020 Group D clash “in solidarity” with Gareth Southgate's England team before their Euro 2020 fixture next Friday.
Captain Andy Robertson said they had changed their decision and would instead “kneel against ignorance”, while manager Clarke explained the decision, adding: “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.
"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”.
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