Team GB’s women’s football team praised for taking the knee before their first match at the Olympics

Team GB’s women’s football team praised for taking the knee before their first match at the Olympics
Masashi Hara/Getty Images

The Team GB women’s football team have taken the knee before kick-off in their first game at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics against Chile.

It was confirmed last week that the team would take the knee in a show of solidarity for those fighting racial injustice around the world.

Before the games began, head coach Hege Riise said: “The players and staff have been taking the knee at club and international level for over a year now and we were all united in our decision to continue doing whatever we can to raise awareness of racism and discrimination in all its forms, standing in unity and solidarity with all those whose lives are affected.

“We are clear that taking the knee is an important symbol of peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality in society and we are glad that the IOC have acknowledged the importance of this form of freedom of expression.

“We will do so with the utmost respect for our fellow competitors, officials and the IOC, with due regard for the ideals that lie at the heart of the Olympic movement.”

This comes after the International Olympic Committee made changes to Rule 50, which will allow for athletes to make gestures as long as they don’t disrupt the competition or show disrespect to their opponents.

Both GB and the Chile players took the knee before the game, which took place in the Sapporo Dome in the north of Japan, and were widely praised by those watching the match.

There was a significant debate around the men’s England football team taking the knee before matches at Euro 2020 with the likes of Nigel Farage, Laurence Fox and several Tory MPs claiming they were either boycotting the tournament or falsely claiming that the gesture was linked to Marxism.

However, the team were largely applauded at matches and the criticism from certain individuals died down as Gareth Southgate’s team progressed throughout the tournament. Team GB’s matches at the Olympics will either be behind closed doors or in front of a small number of fans due to a significant Covid spike in Japan.

Regardless, there hasn’t been anywhere near the amount of vitriol aimed at this team compared to the England men’s team at the start of the Euros.

Team GB comfortably won their opening game of the Olympics 2-0 thanks to a brace by Manchester City striker Ellen White. Team GB does not have a men’s football team at this year’s Olympics.

The Conversation (0)