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Premier League players to limit taking the knee before matches

Premier League players will limit taking the knee before matches this season.

Clubs in the top-flight started the anti-racism gesture in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in the United States but have now taken the decision to scale down the act.

The gesture will now only be seen before important games during the season - including the Boxing Day fixtures and prior to cup finals.

Players and club staff will take the knee before the first matches of the 2022-23 season this weekend as well as in dedicated No Room for Racism matchdays in October and March.

Premier League captains and players are said to believe that "less is more" and want the gesture to have a greater impact when it is taken.

A joint statement from the captains said: "We have decided to select significant moments to take the knee during the season to highlight our unity against all forms of racism and in so doing we continue to show solidarity for a common cause.

"We remain resolutely committed to eradicate racial prejudice, and to bring about an inclusive society with respect and equal opportunities for all."

The gesture was inspired by the NFL star Colin Kaepernick who protested racial oppression when the US national anthem was played before matches but some players - such as Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha - have claimed that gesture has become meaningless.

Premier League chief Richard Masters confirmed that he would support the clubs and players in whatever decision they took.

He told BBC Sport: "We met with the captains last week, they're still totally committed to the issue.

"For two years now taking the knee has become part of the pre-match ritual. The players fear it's losing power and momentum and we will see it take place in a different format.

"It's up to the players to decide themselves and we support them in whatever decision they make, as do the clubs."

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