Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira wants Premier League players to carry on taking a knee before matches.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that players would no longer make the anti-racism gesture prior to each match in the new season, instead reserving the act for specified occasions.
The initiative was adopted as a way of supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, which became prominent following George Floyd’s death in police custody in May 2020 in the United States.
Some were critical of the gesture, arguing it was politically motivated; England players were even jeered for kneeling ahead of Euro 2020 matches last year.
Certain individual players ended their participation last year, with Palace’s Wilfried Zaha suggesting it “doesn’t matter whether we kneel or stand” as abuse continued to be aimed at certain players.
Ahead of the new season, #PL club captains have reaffirmed their commitment to fighting racism and all forms of discrimination.
The players have decided to use specific moments during the upcoming campaign to take the knee. #NoRoomForRacism
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 3, 2022
Even as the league as a whole now limits use of the gesture, Vieira hopes players understand it is a crucial anti-racism message.
Ahead of Palace’s Premier League opener against Arsenal, before which the players of each team will take a knee, Vieira told a news conference: “It’s good to keep taking the knee. I think there will be a few occasions that this initiative will be doing it.
“I think it’s good because we can’t stop it straight away, because there is a statement to make, and I believe it is important to keep taking the knee.
“We all are about [ending] discrimination, so this is the fight that will take long, and that’s why I believe we still have to take the knee.”