The Team GB Women’s Football squad will take the knee ahead of their games at this month’s Tokyo Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee has clarified the regulations regarding its Rule 50, which now permits athletes to make gestures on the field of play without disruption and with respect for their fellow competitors. Following that, England Women’s Football Team have confirmed they will now take the knee as a “peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality”; something we’ve seen their men’s counterpart do already during this year’s Euros.
In an statement, England’s head coach Hege Riise said:
“The players and staff have been taking the knee at club and international level for over a year now and we were all united in our decision to continue doing whatever we can to raise awareness of racism and discrimination in all its forms, standing in unity and solidarity with all those whose lives are affected.
“We are clear that taking the knee is an important symbol of peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality in society and we are glad that the IOC have acknowledged the importance of this form of freedom of expression.
“We will do so with the utmost respect for our fellow competitors, officials and the IOC, with due regard for the ideals that lie at the heart of the Olympic movement.”
British Olympic Association CEO, Andy Anson, added:
“As one of the most diverse and inclusive sports teams in the UK, Team GB will always support any athlete from any sport and their right to promote equality and a more just society, where it is carried out peacefully, respectfully and without disruption.
“By taking the knee our women’s football side are embodying the values of Team GB.”
Moreover, Team GB’s chef de Mission Mark England told Sky Sports News that the team had been “disgusted” by the racial abuse suffered by England players following their Euro 2020 loss to Italy.
“We want to present an opportunity for our athletes to express themselves, to make sure that those causes that they feel strongly about, and certainly the women’s football team here feel very strongly about the online abuse and about the racism Kick It Out campaign and about taking a knee, and we absolutely support them in that.”
On the other side, the GB Team will have three women’s football captains at the Tokyo Games, with Steph Houghton, Sophie Ingle and Kim Little wearing the armband on rotation throughout the tournament.
Finally, a reminder: England’s first group game is against Chile on July 21st in Sapporo. They will also face Japan and Canada in Group E.