EPL: I’ll no longer kneel before matches – Wilfried Zaha vows

February 20, 2021
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Crystal Palace forward, Wilfried Zaha has vowed never to take a knee again during Premier League games.

The Ivorian International says there should be concrete action against racism instead of taking a knee, an action he described as an empty gesture.

In the English Premier League and English Football League players, officials and staff are meant to take their knees before kick-off since the 2019/20 season resumed in June to show support for racial equality.

EPL club shirts also carried a Black Lives Matter slogan during the latter stages of last season before being changed to the anti-discrimination campaign “No Room For Racism” this season.

Despite the kneeling gesture and the campaign on shirts, some players including Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been racially abused on social media in recent weeks.

Teams are now opting out of the gesture with Championship side Brentford, ending the kneeling tradition before games.

Zaha believes the move has become an empty gesture.

The 28-year-old told Financial Times Business of Football Summit that his parents had told him he should be proud to be black and should “stand tall”.

“It’s becoming something that we just do now and that’s not enough for me,” he said.

“I’m not going to take the knee, I’m not going to wear Black Lives Matter on the back of my shirt because it feels like it’s a target.

“We’re isolating ourselves, we’re trying to say that we’re equal but we’re isolating ourselves with these things that aren’t even working anyway, so that’s my stand on it.

“Unless action is going to happen, don’t speak to me about it,” he added.

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