Motherwell FC has become the first Scottish Premiership team to stop taking the knee before matches.
Their reasoning for doing so is that after the racist events of Thursday’s Slavia Prague’s game against Rangers that catchy slogans and performative actions are no longer having an impact. Direct action needs to be taken by the football governing bodies to stamp out this behavior.
The outrage seen by clubs is in direct response to finding out Rangers player Glen Kamara was called a ‘f*cking monkey’ by Slavia Prague player Ondrej Kudela during an Europea League game between the two clubs. Kemar Roofe was also subject to racist comments on Instagram after the game and groups of Slavia Prague fans have even been pictured holding a banner calling Kamara the N slur. Ondrej Kudela denies the accusations.
UEFA has announced that they’re launching an investigation into the incident. UEFA said: “In accordance with the Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector will conduct an investigation regarding the incidents that occurred during the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg match between Rangers FC and SK Slavia Praha on March 18th 2021.”
Motherwell released a statement on their site which said: “Our players have stopped taking the knee before matches, effective immediately from our Scottish Premiership match on Saturday 20 March.
“Motherwell Football Club stands united with this collective decision and their reasons. We fully endorse the following statement from the players. It is time for action on racism, not empty gestures.”
The players said the following in the clubs statement: “When we started taking the knee at the start of the season, it had an impact. For the first few weeks, the message was loud and clear. Now it has been lost.
“Taking a knee has become something someone does now for the sake of it. It has completely lost its meaning. As a squad, we spoke and asked ourselves ‘why are we doing this anymore? Is it having any impact at all?’.
“The answer was a clear no. Taking a knee has become an empty gesture. Instead, we want those in power to take real and immediate action on racism. Apathy and complacency have set into the routine.
“We want our actions to cause a realisation and a reaction. Racism is apparent everywhere in the day-to-day life of society. People need to realise change is required. Players, clubs, authorities and society now need to unite, and fight for a level playing field for all.”