QPR and Millwall players will LINK ARMS before their clash on Tuesday instead of taking the knee in a bid to ‘unify’ people after fans booed the gesture at the Den
- Millwall and QPR players will link arms before their clash on Tuesday
- Both sides decided to make a stronger gesture after controversy at the weekend
- Players were booed for taking the knee by fans before Millwall’s loss to Derby
- The teams will also hold up anti-racism banner to underline their message
Millwall have announced that players will link arms before kick-off in ‘a show of solidarity for football’s fight against discrimination’ rather than take a knee ahead of Tuesday’s home clash with QPR.
The teams will also hold up an anti-racism banner, and Millwall will have the Kick It Out logo on the front of their shirts.
The west Londoners will travel across the capital to the Den on Tuesday where – before a 1-0 defeat to Derby on Saturday – a section of home fans booed all 22 men for taking the knee before kick-off.
QPR and Millwall players will link arms before their clash on Tuesday in a display against racism
It comes after Millwall fans booed players taking the knee before their game against Derby
Millwall condemned their own supporters’ behaviour which sparked a major backlash, while cabinet minister George Eustice responded by calling Black Lives Matter a ‘political movement’ which is ‘different from what most of us believe in.’
The FA have now launched an investigation into the incident, while QPR’s response is to re-introduce the gesture to their match-day routine – having omitted it since the start of the season.
In a statement on their website on Monday night, Millwall said: ‘Players from Millwall and Queens Park Rangers will stand arm-in-arm with each other in a show of solidarity for football’s fight against discrimination ahead of kick-off at The Den on Tuesday night.
‘The two teams will hold aloft a banner to show their collective commitment towards ongoing efforts to rid the game of racism in a positive move which has been supported by Kick It Out, Show Racism The Red Card, The PFA, The FA and The EFL following discussions with the club in recent days.
Millwall said it believes the new gesture will help unify people against forms of discrimination
Since the start of the season QPR haven’t taken the knee in any of their matches
‘Millwall believe that this gesture, which the club hopes to repeat with other visiting teams in the coming weeks and months, will help to unify people throughout society in the battle to root out all forms of discrimination.
‘Kick It Out’s logo will also replace that of principal partner Huski Chocolate on the front of Millwall’s shirts for the London derby.
‘QPR have informed Millwall that a selection of their players wish to take the knee as a way of showing their support for anti-discrimination efforts – a gesture which the club respects and it firmly asks all those in attendance to do likewise.
‘Millwall have a zero-tolerance policy against racial and all other forms of discrimination and want to again make clear to anybody who holds such views that you are not welcome at this football club. Millwall’s stance, as always, is that anybody found guilty of racial abuse is banned for life.’
QPR chief Lee Hoos said players standing shoulder to shoulder would be a ‘powerful response’
Millwall also said they had started an ‘audit of board members, staff, volunteers and participants as part of an ongoing commitment towards equality, diversity and inclusion’.
The club added that a ‘new widespread and multi-faceted anti-discrimination strategy’ would include ‘the formation of an equality, diversity and inclusion code of practice to cover departments throughout the club’s activities and recruitment processes.’
QPR also released a statement ahead of the game. Chief executive Lee Hoos said: ‘We have always been at the forefront of encouraging equality and diversity while tackling discrimination in all its forms.
‘Our initial approach to this particular situation was for all our players to take the knee in a show of solidarity.
‘However, following a series of discussions with Millwall, as well as internal conversations involving myself, director of football Les Ferdinand, manager Mark Warburton and the entire first team squad, it was agreed that standing shoulder to shoulder with our opposition players would be a more powerful response.
The FA have now launched an investigation into what happened at the Den on the weekend
‘On top of this, some of our players wish to take the knee and we fully support this action. As I said in September on this subject (after QPR did not take a knee ahead of their game against Coventry), each individual needs to be free to make their own decision on how to express intolerance for social injustice, without fear of being negatively judged.’
Jeers of players taking the knee were also heard before Colchester’s clash with Grimsby at the weekend, leading to an FA investigation announced on Monday.
‘The FA can confirm that investigations are under way into crowd-related incidents at both The Den and JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday 5 December 2020,’ the governing body’s statement reads.
‘Observations have been sought from all of the relevant parties and they will have until Thursday 10 December 2020 to provide their respective responses.’