Scottish Premiership players to take knee to support anti-racism

SPFL chief Neil Doncaster: "Scottish football has been enormously enhanced by players from hugely diverse backgrounds"

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Former Albion Rovers manager Kevin Harper says there is a lack of role models for BAME footballers

Scottish Premiership players will take a knee ahead of kick-off this weekend as the 2020/21 season gets underway, live on Sky Sports.

After Premier League players and staff in England showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement following the 2019/20 restart - clubs in Scotland have teamed up with Show Racism the Red Card, the SPFL and PFA Scotland to show their solidarity with the ongoing anti-racism movement.

Players are set to wear t-shirts promoting the work of Scotland's anti-racism charity and there will be a special video message featuring players from each of the 12 top-flight teams.

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Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, said in a statement: "For many, many years, Scottish football has been enormously enhanced by players from hugely diverse backgrounds, who are amongst the most beloved and admired figures to have graced our game.

"It's fitting therefore, that Scottish football plays a prominent role in helping ensure that education is at the heart of efforts to eradicate the scourge of racism in our society.

It's fitting therefore, that Scottish football plays a prominent role in helping ensure that education is at the heart of efforts to eradicate the scourge of racism in our society.
Neil Doncaster

"That's why we and PFA Scotland proudly support Scotland's anti-racism charity, Show Racism the Red Card, which educates thousands of young people and adults annually and are committed to promoting their work throughout a Fortnight of Action in October, as well as in the opening round of Premiership fixtures.

"Players from all SPFL Premiership clubs have put together a video message which will be broadcast throughout match coverage and players will be issued with special t-shirts for the opening matches of the season, provided by PFA Scotland in conjunction with Show Racism the Red Card.

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Former Albion Rovers manager Kevin Harper says there is a lack of role models for BAME footballers

"Our three organisations have also worked together to enable players and officials who wish to show their solidarity with efforts to eliminate racial prejudice to do so prior to the opening matches of the season.

"Racism is abhorrent to any right-thinking person in our society today. The SPFL wholeheartedly supports the right of players, officials and others who wish to underline their opposition to such hateful beliefs and behaviours to 'take a knee' as we relaunch the game in Scotland.

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Livingston midfielder Marvin Bartley says it's important that Scottish Premiership players are able to take a knee when the season starts on Saturday

"However, the manner in which people choose to express their opposition must remain a matter of individual free will and personal choice.

"It's for that reason that it would be wholly inappropriate for the SPFL, or indeed any organisation, to compel anyone to make any specific gesture.

"As in other sports, individuals must be free to express their own views in other ways, and the SPFL respects their right to do so."

Scottish Prem: New season on Sky Sports

Scottish Premiership games live on Sky Sports in August
Image: Scottish Premiership games live on Sky Sports in August

Celtic will kick off their Scottish Premiership title defence at home to Hamilton Academical on August 2, while Rangers travel to Aberdeen on August 1, with both games live on Sky Sports.

Neil Lennon's Celtic side, who were crowned champions for the ninth successive season in May after the SPFL opted to curtail the 2019/20 campaign, are looking for a 10th straight title, and will host the Accies at Celtic Park in a 4.30pm kick-off on the Sunday, while Steven Gerrard's Rangers are at Pittodrie at 12.30pm on the Saturday.

Also on the opening week, Motherwell's trip to Ross County on August 3 will be live on Sky Sports, while all 12 Scottish Premiership teams will be shown live on Sky Sports in August, with more live fixtures to be announced from September onwards.

From August, Sky Sports will be the only broadcaster to offer live coverage of the Scottish Premiership, with up to 48 games available on the new home of Scottish football.

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