The British women’s soccer team has vowed to take a knee before kickoff at the Tokyo Olympics, which will begin July 21.
After a team meeting that took place before flying to Japan, the team made the decision to kneel, ABC News reported. Britain defender Demi Stokes, who has spoken about racism in the past, said that the team is standing up for “people that don’t have a voice.” (RELATED: ‘No Shaking Hands … No Hugs’: Olympic Committee Announces Drastic New Changes For Athletes Winning Medals In Tokyo)
Great Britain’s women’s football team have confirmed that they will take a knee before their matches at the Olympics in support of the fight against racism and discrimination.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 15, 2021
“We know we have a big part to play. It’s important we use our platforms to help in any way we can,” Stokes added according to the report. “We want to show to everyone this is something serious. It’s still happening. What a way to do it, on an Olympic stage.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) initially upheld its rule against political protests of any kind – including kneeling – during the Olympics, but relaxed some restrictions at the beginning of July.
The IOC’s long-standing Rule 50 of its Olympic Charter prohibits any “kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” during the games, but Rule 50 came under scrutiny during the rise of Black Lives Matter protests.
England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland usually play as separate teams internationally but play as one team during the Olympics.
“I feel lucky to be part of a group that wants change to stop racism, discrimination and stand in solidarity with those who have been affected,” said Britain forward Ellen White according to the report. “This whole group had the same message and we want to try to help that change in taking the knee. I feel really positive that us doing that will promote change.”
Goalkeeper Carly Telford said that the Olympics are “a huge opportunity to show the world that people can be who they want.”