We express our solidarity with those teams who show their opposition to racism by taking the knee at Euro 2020. We believe Boris Johnson should have forcefully condemned the booing of England players by a small minority of so-called supporters.
Johnson’s statement said he “fully respects the right of those who choose to peacefully protest and make their feelings known” and “on taking the knee, specifically, the prime minister is more focused on action rather than gestures’.
Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith repugnantly compared taking the knee to England footballers performing the Nazi salute during a 1938 match with Germany. Another Tory MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire has stated he will boycott England games because of Take The Knee. Johnson failed to condemn these MPs which is giving succour to the far right.
A host of right wing figures including former UKIP leader Nigel Farage & former actor and right wing politician Lawrence Fox have joined in the attacks on the players, England’s manager Gareth Southgate and BBC pundit Gary Lineker who has publicly opposed the booing and supported the teams anti-racist stance.
Now videos are circulating calling for protests against taking the knee at Wembley stadium coinciding with England’s first game against Croatia on Sunday. These videos are being promoted by convicted criminal Tommy Robinson and others.
We reject racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and attempts by the far right to use football to build support. We stand in solidarity with all teams who choose to #TakeTheKnee in support of #BlackLivesMatter and in opposition to racism. We call on all fans to show their solidarity with their teams taking the knee before kick off by applauding the players.
Diane Abbott MP
John McDonnell MP
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
Richard Burgon MP
Claudia Webbe MP
Zarah Sultana MP
Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union
Christina McAnea, General Secretary of UNISON
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of NEU
Dave Ward, General Secretary of CWU
Shavanah Taj, General Secretary of WTUC
Shaka Hislop, Honorary President of Show Racism the Red Card
Mike Rosen, Poet & Writer
Mick Lynch, General Secretary RMT
Mick Whelan, General Secretary of ASLEF
Sabby Dhalu & Weyman Bennett, co-convenors Stand Up To Racism
Patrick Vernon OBE, social commentator and Windrush campaigner
Mohammed Kozbar, Chairman Finsbury Park Mosque
Raghad Altikriti, Muslim Association of Britain President
Anas Altikriti, CEO of The Cordoba Foundation
Azhar Qayum, CEO of MEND
Daniel Kebede, Senior Vice President of National Education Union
Jane Loftus, President of CWU
Gloria Mills, TUC Race Relations Committee chair/ Unison National Secretary & Head of Equality
Aamer Anwar, Human Rights Lawyer
Ben Chacko, Morning Star Editor
Lindsey German, Stop the War Convenor