Marcos Alonso: Chelsea defender to stop taking knee after claiming anti-racism gesture is 'losing strength'

The Spain left-back says he will instead point to the Premier League 'No Room for Racism' badge on his sleeve; players have been taking a knee since the summer of 2020 to show support for the movement for racial equality; Thomas Tuchel: "This is his decision, we accept it"

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has said the club accepts Marcos Alonso's decision to stop taking a knee before matches

Marcos Alonso says he will no longer take a knee before matches as the Chelsea defender believes the anti-racism gesture is "losing strength", with head coach Thomas Tuchel admitting he understands his player's reasoning.

The Spain left-back says he will instead point to the Premier League 'No Room for Racism' badge on his sleeve, while other players kneel ahead of kick-off.

Since the Premier League resumed in the summer of 2020 after a coronavirus-enforced break, players, officials and staff at games have been taking a knee before kick-off to show support for the movement for racial equality.

"I am fully against racism and I'm against every type of discrimination, and I just prefer to put my finger to the badge where it says no to racism, like they do in some other sports and football in other countries," Alonso said.

No Room For Racism (PA)
Image: Alonso says he will instead point to the Premier League's 'No Room for Racism' campaign badge on his sleeve

"I prefer to do it this way and, of course, to say very clearly that I am against racism and I respect everybody."

Asked whether or not his decision to stop taking the knee had anything to do with politics, Alonso said: "I don't know, I just prefer to do it this way. It's my way to do it, I think it's another way.

"And maybe I think it's losing a bit of strength the other way, so I just prefer to do it this way and to show I am fully supportive of fighting against racism."

Also See:

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Anton Ferdinand says he disagrees with Marcos Alonso's decision to stop taking a knee and has called for footballers to stay united in their stance against racism

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha became the first top-flight player to opt out of the gesture, earlier this year, after stating his belief that taking a knee is "degrading".

Alonso, who was speaking to the media following Chelsea's victory over Tottenham on Sunday, said he had not discussed his decision with any of his Chelsea team-mates, several of whom have been victims of racial abuse.

Romelu Lukaku and Marcos Alonso (PA)
Image: Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku (left) is one of several of Alonso's team-mates who have been victims of racist abuse

Reece James, Antonio Rudiger, N'Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku have all faced abuse in recent years, with England defender James temporarily deleting his Instagram account earlier this year due to the scale of online abuse.

"No, we haven't talked about it," Alonso said.

"We are in the changing room and we are like a family. I have a very good relationship with everyone, I love everyone and up to now we haven't talked about it. I don't think there is a need to, but, of course, if I have to speak to anyone, I will say the same thing I just told you and I don't think there will be any problems."

Alonso confirmed he intends to maintain his stance for the rest of the season, adding: "Yeah, for now I prefer to point to the sleeve and that's what I will do."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea's win over Tottenham in the Premier League

Tuchel: Marcos' decision could prompt discussion

Chelsea boss Tuchel has said the club accepts Alonso's decision to stop taking a knee, and acknowledges it could prompt a discussion among the squad as to how they tackle racism in the future.

Tuchel said: "It's not a discussion in the group, but of course if a player takes a decision like this, we are not in a bubble - of course then discussions come up. The most important thing is I know Marcos personally and I trust him 1000 per cent that he is absolutely committed against racism and any form of racism. There is no question about it. We are all against it.

"We took the decision to take the knee together. Maybe it takes action against a routine to wake up again and have another good discussion. We want to do the most against racism and stand up against it.

"There are different forms of doing it. Marcos took his position. He's a grown up, a responsible person. This is his decision, we accept it, he gave his reasons for it and from here the discussion can end or go in a productive way maybe to do more."

Isn't it always like this? Once you do a gesture, and everybody is doing it, and once you do it so often because there are so many games it becomes normal. Then maybe it lowers the effect of it. If this is his point, I can see his point.
Thomas Tuchel on Alonso's decision

Asked if he understands Alonso's point about the gesture lacking strength, Tuchel added: "Isn't it always like this? Once you do a gesture, and everybody is doing it, and once you do it so often because there are so many games it becomes normal.

"Then maybe it lowers the effect of it. If this is his point, I can see his point. We can now discuss if it's necessary to have this discussion and be the only guy standing up.

"He's pretty aware of it, he's experienced enough, responsible enough. This development started with single persons taking a knee, and it became a bigger thing.

"Marcos' point is that it cannot end like this and it cannot become normal. What should be normal is that we're against racism. I understand Marcos thinks there's always more to do, of course we want to focus on sports, but use the platform and possibilities that we have. How we produce performances together is by living by example."

Alonso, who had fallen out of favour at Chelsea under Frank Lampard before Tuchel's arrival last season, has made a strong start to the 2021/22 campaign, starting all five Premier League games ahead of England defender Ben Chilwell.

The high regard in which Tuchel holds Alonso was highlighted by the former Bolton and Sunderland defender being given the captain's armband as Chelsea beat Aston Villa earlier this month.

Sunday's 3-0 win at Spurs maintained the European champions' unbeaten start to the season, during which they have claimed four wins and a draw from a tough opening schedule.

Kick It Out reporting racism

Online Reporting Form | Kick It Out

Kick It Out is football's equality and inclusion organisation - working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.

www.kickitout.org

Win £250,000 with Super 6!

Win £250,000 with Super 6!

Another Saturday, another chance to win £250,000 with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 3pm.

Around Sky