By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The postponed UEFA Euro 2020 football championship will take place between 11 June and 11 July 2021.
Despite some opposition from fans in the form of ‘boos’, it has been announced by the England Manager, Gareth Southgate, that players will take the knee, before each match, to highlight racial injustice and in sympathy with the ‘black lives matter’ movement, spawned by the murder, on 25 May 2020 in Minneapolis, of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by a white policeman, Derek Chauvin, who has since been convicted of his murder, but is seeking a new trial.
Southgate has informed the media as follows:
“This gesture of taking the knee is a moment for people to reflect really. They can choose to reflect how they choose. You know personally whenever I’m doing it, I’m thinking of the boys that play for us, the journey they have been on. The difficulties they have faced in their lives, that sadly they seem almost immune to at times, but at certain other times it hurts.”
“It’s my responsibility to represent them the best way I can.”
That being said, however, the ‘black lives matter’ is a political movement and taking the knee is a political gesture, which, in the opinion of the author of this Post, does not sit at all well with the accepted notion that sport should be above politics.
In fact, taking the knee may also fall foul of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, which prohibit a person using “sporting events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature.”