Scotland to take the knee against England as Clarke reveals U-turn
England’s players have been going down on one knee before games as a protest against racism, while Scotland have since March stood together as a group to make their own united statement.
They intend to carry on in that way but will make an exception for the England game at Wembley on June 18, having been disappointed by reactions to their own method of facing down discrimination.
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A frustrated Clarke said that “some individuals and groups have sought to politicise or misrepresent the Scotland national team position”.
He reiterated his squad’s view that “the purpose of taking the knee … has been diluted and undermined by the continuation of abuse towards players”, but Clarke does not want Scotland’s actions to be interpreted as anything but being vigorously opposed to discrimination.
The one-off policy shift is a statement of Scotland’s solidarity with their English counterparts, who have faced booing from supporters of the national team after taking the knee.
“In light of divisive and inaccurate comments being perpetuated by individuals and groups, whose views we denounce in the strongest terms, we have reflected today as a group,” Clarke said.
“We remain committed to our principles of taking a stand but we must also be unequivocal in condemning the opportunistic false narrative being presented by some.
“We have therefore agreed that we will show solidarity with our counterparts in England, many of whom are team-mates of our own players, and who have found themselves on the receiving end of abuse from fans in recent international matches.
“We will continue to take a stand – together, as one – for our matches at Hampden Park. For our match at Wembley, we will stand against racism and kneel against ignorance.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed the move, writing on Twitter: “Good decision, Scotland – well done!”
Steve Clarke: pic.twitter.com/naXJeRsvrS
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) June 11, 2021
Scotland begin their Euro 2020 campaign – their first major finals since the 1998 World Cup – with a Hampden clash against the Czech Republic on Monday.
Andy Robertson, the Scotland captain and Liverpool left-back, backed the decision to take the knee before the highly anticipated Wembley game.
Robertson said: “Our stance is that everyone, players, fans, teams, clubs, federations, governing bodies and governments must do more. Meaningful action is needed if meaningful change is to occur.
“But it is also clear, given the events around the England national team, taking the knee in this tournament matters as a symbol of solidarity.
“For this reason, we have collectively decided to again take the knee as a team for the fixture against England at Wembley Stadium.
“The Scotland team stands against racism but we will kneel against ignorance and in solidarity on June 18th.”
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