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England Will Take a Knee in World Cup Matches to Protest Racism

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The World Cup started on Sunday and it wasn’t without controversy. From beer sales being banned at the last minute to protests over human rights violations, the voicing of social injustice at the biggest global event of the year is apparent.

On Sunday, England jumped in the mix and announced they were joining the fight for social justice at the World Cup.

Manager Gareth Southgate announced the team’s intention to take a knee at every one of their matches, an act that spread across the world after Colin Kaepernick first did it in 2016 to protest social injustice and police brutality.

“We have discussed taking the knee, we feel we should,” said Southgate at the team’s press conference Sunday. “It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long time. We understand in the Premier League that the clubs have decided to only do it for certain games, big occasions. We feel this is the biggest.”

The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world, so no stage is bigger right now. 

“We think it’s a strong statement that will go around the world for young people in particular to see that inclusivity is very important,” Southgate added.

The announcement to take a knee came a day before their first match against Iran, which is facing heat over the deadly protests that are raging in the country.

The unrest erupted in September after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police, who detained her for wearing “inappropriate” clothes.  

Many women have removed their hijabs in protest, and over 400 protesters have been killed in the country since the incident.

At the World Cup, the team is facing scrutiny from all. Some team members have avoided discussing the situation. But others, like Defender Ehsan Hajsafi, have spoken out publically in support of the protesters back home.

While England isn’t facing deadly protests, they suffered a disgusting, racist incident last year after the Euro 2020 final.

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