Premier League captains are set to meet again this week in preparation to scrap the unilateral decision to take the knee ahead of games next season.
The anti-racism gesture has been a staple of English football since the summer of 2020 and has been seen as a crucial symbol in the sport’s fight against discrimination.
Its importance has been regularly debated and certain clubs, most recently Sky Bet Championship sides Bristol City and Swansea last week, have decided not to take the knee anymore.
A meeting between the 20 Premier League captains was held on Thursday to discuss the issue of whether to continue taking the knee, but after a multitude of views no final decision was made and another meeting is set for this week .
It is understood that the Premier League are happy to support players in their decision. A handful of high-profile players have long refused to take the knee, including Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso.
The clubs will hold internal talks this week, with Newcastle reportedly set to discuss the issue today and a decision is expected immediately as the top flight is set to start on Friday when Palace host Arsenal.
Bournemouth will continue their no-knee stance, which has been their position since February 2021. At the time, they justified their decision by saying: “Fighting against all forms of discrimination and creating an equal, inclusive society is something we feel very passionate about.
“But that defines much more than a gesture that, in our opinion, has had its day and no longer has the effect it originally had.”
England’s players will continue to take a knee before games in preparation for the World Cup in Qatar in November this year, although the gesture was booed by sections of England’s supporters during last summer’s Euros.
What will definitely return in the coming term are the players who go out together again and are able to shake hands or hit fists. During the coronavirus pandemic, handshaking has been stopped to prevent the spread of the virus, but it will once again be part of the pre-game ritual.
The 2022-23 season will be another unique season with a five-week break in November and December while the World Cup takes place in Qatar.
A return to the Premier League is slated for Boxing Day but the league has taken steps to ensure player welfare is a top priority and no team will be asked to return within 48 hours during the three rounds of matches between 26th and 26th June. December and twice to play January 2nd.
Premier League clubs, which still have a number of players in England, have been given permission by Fifa and the competition to also host low-key friendlies during this period, but they are not allowed to clash with World Cup games.
December’s World Championship means the league has moved when it will dedicate a game round to the Rainbow Laces campaign.
It usually takes place in the last month of the year and closest to Rainbow Laces Day, but two game rounds will be dedicated to the LGBTQ+ campaign on October 22nd-23rd and 29th-30th.
The Premier League will also host two No Room for Racism campaigns in the first half of the season on September 8th-9th and 15th-16th.