Gareth Southgate says England will take the knee at World Cup in Qatar

England's Mason Mount (left) and Declan Rice take the knee
England's Mason Mount (left) and Declan Rice take the knee during last year's Euros. Credit: PA

Gareth Southgate has confirmed England will take the knee at the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Three Lions made the gesture against racism and inequality in 33 straight matches after football returned after the Covid19 shutdown.

England did not take the knee in September’s fixtures but they will make the gesture in Monday’s Group B opener against Iran and beyond at the World Cup.

“We have discussed taking the knee,” England manager Southgate said. “We feel we should.

“It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time.

Gareth Southgate says the UK is facing a 'difficult spell' as he speaks during a press conference in Qatar on Sunday

“Of course we understand in the Premier League that the clubs have decided to only do that for certain games, big occasions.

“We feel this is the biggest and we think it’s a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important.”

Premier League captains decided ahead of the start of this season to use specific moments to take the knee rather than making the gesture at every match.

The teams agreed to perform the act ahead of the opening round, dedicated ‘No Room For Racism’ matches in October and March, on Boxing Day and the final round, as well as the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.

The World Cup officially opened in Doha on Sunday in a ceremony at Al Bayt Stadium.

Speaking to press on Sunday, Southgate also said he wants to bring World Cup joy to the nation at a challenging time by leading England on another “memorable” journey.

“Look, our challenge is to give our supporters a tournament that’s memorable,” Southgate said on the eve of the Iran game at the Khalifa International Stadium.

“We’ve taken them on fantastic journeys in our last two tournaments, and we want to bring (them on another).

“Our country is going also through a difficult spell – not the same as some of the other countries around the world at the moment but we’re in the middle of an economic recession and life has been difficult for a lot of our people.

“So, we want them to enjoy their football and have a journey with the team that brings some real happiness.”

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