The decision resulted from meetings between the league and top-flight captains who consulted with their respective teams.

“The players have decided to use specific moments in the upcoming campaign to take a knee, to amplify the message that racism has no place in football or in society,” read a statement from the league.

“The Premier League supports the players’ decision and, alongside clubs, will use these opportunities to elevate anti-racism messaging as part of the League’s No Room for Racism action plan.

“Players will take the knee in the first round of the season, matches dedicated to racism in October and March, Boxing Day matches after the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Premier League matches the last day of the season and the FA Cup and EFL Cup finals.”

The player-led initiative had been in place before every game since June 2020 to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police that sparked global protests.

LILY: Football goes home but taking a knee divides England fans

The gesture drew criticism from some fans and politicians, including Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel, who accused the England team of participating in the ‘politics of the gesture’ by taking the knee during their matches. Euro 2020 – and said the fans had every right to boo them, telling GB News in June 2021: “It’s a choice for them, quite frankly.”

The 2022/23 English Premier League season begins its 30th anniversary on August 5 as Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace for a London derby.

In a statement, Tony Burnett, CEO of anti-racism group Kick it Out, said: “Taking the knee is a gesture that was pushed by the players. The players did it to highlight the fight for racial equality and to that, he has certainly kept the spotlight on the issues that football and society in general still face.

“The purpose of symbols and gestures is to use platforms to emphasize to those in power that they need to act. These gestures and symbols will inevitably change over time.

It’s not about the symbols and gestures themselves, but about what they mean. We shouldn’t talk about whether players kneel. We should talk about why they kneel. We should talk about the inequality and discrimination the gesture highlights.”

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