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Players for England (left) and Germany (right) kneel ahead of kickoff
Players for England (left) and Germany (right) kneel ahead of kickoffImage: John Sibley/REUTERS

Germany join England in kneeling protest

June 29, 2021

Germany joined England in a kneeling protest before their Euro 2020 last 16 match. The captains of both teams also set wore special armbands for the game.

https://p.dw.com/p/3viST

Germany and England players knelt together ahead of kickoff of their Euro 2020 last 16 in London's Wembley Stadium match on Tuesday.

England's players have knelt before each of their three group stage games in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement against racial injustice.

"We stand for all these values and think it's right to stand up for such values," Germany coach Joachim Löw told reporters on Monday. "The team has discussed what to do and told us that they will also take the knee. That's a great sign."

Germany captain Manuel Neuer added that Germany "want to show solidarity with the national team of England. That's why we're going to do it. We're happy to go along with it and didn't have to think about it for long."

Players for England and Scotland kneel before the start of their group stage game
Players for England and Scotland kneel before the start of their group stage gameImage: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Why do England players kneel before kickoff?

England also knelt before two warmup exhibition games in Middlesbrough ahead of the European Championship. The gesture was met with boos and jeers from the home crowd.

In response to the outrage, England coach Gareth Southgate explained in an article on the Players' Tribune why his players were kneeling ahead of kickoff.

"I have never believed that we should just stick to football," Southgate wrote. "Our players are role models. And, beyond the confines of the pitch, we must recognize the impact they can have on society."

"It’s their duty to continue to interact with the public on matters such as equality, inclusivity and racial injustice, while using the power of their voices to help put debates on the table, raise awareness and educate."

Captains with rainbow armbands

England captain Harry Kane also joined Neuer in wearing a rainbow captain's armband.

Neuer's armband was briefly investigated by UEFA, but the European football body ultimately allowed the German captain to wear it.

Manuel Neuer's rainbow armband was briefly investigated by UEFA
Manuel Neuer's rainbow armband was briefly investigated by UEFAImage: CHRISTOF STACHE/REUTERS

Kane's decision comes after UEFA prohibited Munich's stadium from being lit in rainbow colors for Germany's final group game against Hungary.

Munich's city council had submitted a request to UEFA to light the stadium in rainbow colors as a protest against a new law in Hungary banning LGBTQ content to minors. Europe's football confederation denied the request, saying it came on political grounds.

Germany fans attending the game responded by dressing in rainbow colors and bringing rainbow flags into the ground. Additionally, other football stadiums in Germany lit up in rainbow colors during the game.

Netherlands supporters also brought rainbow flags for their last 16 game against the Czech Republic, which took place in Budapest. UEFA said the action was in line with it's Equal Game campaign.

dv/aw (dpa, SID)

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