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Newport investigate lack of BLM gesture

Wales and Republic of Ireland players took the knee before their Nations League game on 11 October in Dublin

Newport County chairman Gavin Foxall says he will investigate why the teams did not take a knee before their 1-0 League Two win over Tranmere Rovers.

Foxall said the gesture, in support of Black Lives Matter, was “something the referee instigates before a game”.

But the English Football League rejected this, saying: “The referee wouldn’t have a role to play. It would usually be for the captains to decide.”

Newport and Tranmere have been asked to comment on the EFL’s response.

Players, officials and staff at Premier League and EFL games have regularly taken a knee pre-match in recent months in order to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality.

The EFL’s guidance states that it is down to clubs and players to decide on whether to take a knee before a match – but that they should try to make that decision in advance, then agree it with the opposition and inform the match officials, so that everyone involved knows it is happening.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales’ Call Rob show after Saturday’s match, Foxall said he would seek answers on why the teams did not take a knee.

Former Wales striker Nathan Blake, a regular guest on the show, challenged Foxall over the issue.

Foxall said: “As I understand it, it’s something that the referee instigates before a game. It’s agreed with the two captains.

“I don’t know why that wasn’t the case today and as a club we’ll take that away and have that discussion and see why that wasn’t the case.

“But I would say though as a club yesterday [Friday], we supported the Wear Red Day campaign [to support Show Racism the Red Card] and as you will see from our shirts as well – we support the campaign of today or any day.”

Blake then asked Foxall how, as chairman, he did not know why players had not taken the knee.

He said: “Let me just say this is Newport… it’s probably one of the biggest black populations in Great Britain.

“You have fans here who are black, white, Asian. Don’t you feel accountability and responsibility to those people?”

Foxall replied: “Racism doesn’t have a place in society, let alone in football, and as a football club we’re fully behind that.

“I don’t know why that didn’t happen today. As I say, there is a protocol for it, which is instigated by the referee with the two captains.

“Rest assured this club is fully behind the campaign and we want to live that out and we need to live that out.”

, Daily Echoed
Former Wales striker Nathan Blake has become a football pundit since his playing days ended. He challenged Newport chairman Gavin Foxall over events at Rodney Parade

QPR and Coventry City did not carry out the gesture in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before their Championship match in September.

Les Ferdinand, QPR’s director of football, later argued the impact of taking a knee had “been diluted”.

EFL guidance to clubs on taking a knee

  • It remains the choice of an individual player or players if they wish to take the knee
  • Having assessed the views of their players, clubs should try to mutually agree an approach before each match (preferably prior to match day)
  • In circumstances where clubs cannot reach an agreement, it is recommended that clubs seek to find a sensible compromise position to try to achieve a consistent approach to matches. For example, clubs may decide that the views of the home team’s players should take precedence at each of the two matches between the clubs this season, thus delivering each set of players’ preferred position at one game
  • Should there be no agreement, then individual players will be free to take the knee
  • Match officials are briefed to facilitate any variation of request(s) and clubs via their captains’ should communicate the approach at the pre-match briefing

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