MILLWALL FANS BOO AS FOOTBALLERS TAKE THE KNEE IN SUPPORT OF BLACK LIVES MATTER

December 5, 2020

Millwall and QPR players to stand arm-in-arm in ‘show of solidarity’ before Tuesday’s match

BBC News 7 December 2020.

Millwall players will not take a knee before Tuesday’s Championship fixture against QPR but will stand arm-in-arm in a “show of solidarity for football’s fight against discrimination”.

It comes after some Millwall fans booed the players taking a knee before Saturday’s defeat by Derby at The Den.

Players of both teams will collectively hold up an anti-racism banner. Millwall’s regular shirt sponsor will be replaced with the logo of anti-discrimination body Kick It Out.

In a statement, Millwall said: “Millwall believe that this gesture, which the club hopes to repeat with other visiting teams in the coming weeks and months, will help to unify people throughout society in the battle to root out all forms of discrimination.

“Millwall have a zero-tolerance policy against racial and all other forms of discrimination and want to again make clear to anybody who holds such views that you are not welcome at this football club. Millwall’s stance, as always, is that anybody found guilty of racial abuse is banned for life.”

The decision came after a meeting on Monday between both clubs, Kick It Out, Show Racism The Red Card, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the Football Association (FA) and the English Football League (EFL).In a statement, the EFL welcomed the decision of both clubs to “continue to raise awareness of inequality and discrimination facing society. Discrimination in any form is unacceptable and not welcome within our game or our communities – not today or any day,” the statement said. Players often receive widespread criticism and negativity for merely doing their jobs but here they are leading the way, trying to effect positive change and they should be applauded for taking a stand, showing solidarity and setting an example for others to follow.”

Some QPR players will take the knee before Tuesday’s game at The Den, despite having stopped the gesture earlier this season after director of football Les Ferdinand said its impact had “been diluted”.

Players, officials and staff at Premier League and EFL games have been taking a knee pre-match since football restarted in June in order to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality. The Den was able to host 2,000 home fans for the first time this season after the second national lockdown was lifted but the return of spectators was overshadowed by the booing, with which Millwall said they were “dismayed and saddened”.

The Millwall Supporters’ Club said the booing was not motivated by racism, but instead in opposition to the political views held by the Black Lives Matter organisation.

The FA has confirmed it is investigating the incident at Millwall, and a similar one at Colchester United’s League Two game against Grimsby Town.

If it finds that the actions were discriminatory, the clubs could face fines.

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