Premier League chief Richard Masters supports stars speaking out to promote good causes

"Whatever the campaign messages might be, there needs to be significant policies and programmes behind it that are making a difference"

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Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says he supports the move to have the slogan 'Black Lives Matter' on player's shirts in this week's games, saying it represented an ethical stance rather than a political one.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has welcomed footballers using their platforms to support good causes and says there is "more to do" on anti-discrimination.

A number of Premier League stars have publicly voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter protests in recent weeks, following the death of George Floyd in the USA.

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has also used his platform this week to urge the UK government to reconsider its decision not to run the current food voucher scheme during the school summer holidays,

After Rashford wrote an emotional plea to MPs, the government has announced it is extending its free school meal voucher scheme through a £120m Summer Food Fund.

Rashford also has raised more than £20m for charity after partnering with FareShare during the lockdown period.

When the Premier League returns on Wednesday, players will have their names replaced by 'Black Lives Matter' on their shirts for the first 12 games, as well as a logo for the NHS, to show gratitude for health workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

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New Hereford manager Josh Gowling has praised Premier League sides for having Black Lives Matter on the back of their shirts when the season restarts and says important discussions are now starting to be held.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Masters said: "What you are hearing from the players is their views and I support them in using their platforms to push good causes.

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"The messages you're going to see coming through the Premier League matches, in relation to thanking the NHS and also the anti-discrimination messages are issues that all players feel.

"I have enjoyed getting closer to the players' perspective. We've had Zoom calls with club captains on all sorts of issues and we've learned a lot and listened.

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Marcus Rashford's former coach Dave Horrocks says the Manchester United striker is inspiring future generations by speaking out on social issues.

"I think it is a good thing that players are using their voices to make what I think are ethical and valued judgements, rather than political statements.

"They're supposed to be unifying messages and we support them and so do the clubs."

Masters says replacing players' names with Black Lives Matter is just the start and reiterated their commitment to do more work on anti-discrimination.

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Former West Ham forward Carlton Cole says football should consider bringing in a Rooney Rule to give BAME coaches better opportunities to get high-profile jobs.

"Whatever the campaign messages might be, there needs to be significant policies and programmes behind it that are making a difference," Masters said.

"There's a strong and long-standing commitment from the Premier League and all of our clubs to anti-discrimination. We are going to continue to listen to players.

"Representation on the pitch is fantastic and I think it needs to be reflected throughout the workplace, whether that be coaching or in boardrooms. There's more to do in that area."

On the possibility of introducing a Rooney Rule, whereby clubs must interview a BAME candidate for a vacant role, Masters said: "We haven't discussed that and we haven't got any plans to do so."

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