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Published 15 July 2021 3 min read
England Women's Senior Team

GB Football team to take the knee

Written by:

Wendy Taylor

Hege Riise's team to take stance, as GB Football's three captains are confirmed

The Team GB Women’s Football squad have confirmed their intention to take the knee on the field of play ahead of kick-off in their games at the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Football tournament in Japan.

The squad welcomed recent clarification provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in relation to Rule 50 which now permits athletes to make gestures on the field of play, provided they are done so without disruption and with respect for fellow competitors.

Head coach Hege Riise said: “The players and staff have been taking the knee at club and international level for over a year now and we were all united in our decision to continue doing whatever we can to raise awareness of racism and discrimination in all its forms, standing in unity and solidarity with all those whose lives are affected.  

“We are clear that taking the knee is an important symbol of peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality in society and we are glad that the IOC have acknowledged the importance of this form of freedom of expression. 

"We will do so with the utmost respect for our fellow competitors, officials and the IOC, with due regard for the ideals that lie at the heart of the Olympic movement.”

England Women's interim head coach Hege Riise will lead GB Football in Tokyo
England Women's interim head coach Hege Riise will lead GB Football in Tokyo

Meanwhile, Team GB will have three women’s football captains for the tournament in the shape of Steph Houghton, Sophie Ingle and Kim Little.

The trio have been chosen by Riise, with each player set to captain games on rotation throughout the tournament. Houghton is the current captain of England, while Ingle wears the armband for Wales and Little is Scotland’s vice-captain. 

“We're fortunate to have so many experienced and talented players in our squad and we think of ourselves as a ‘leaderful’ team, where every individual brings their own leadership strengths to the group," explained Riise.

“However Steph, Sophie and Kim will lead the way on the pitch.  This is a very close group on and off the pitch and I have been so impressed how they have all come together.

“We've had a great reception here in Japan and we are fully focused on doing our best for Team GB. When you get to an Olympics you realise you are part of something very special and I know the players and support team are determined to give everything they can.”

Team GB, who have been drawn in Group E, will face Chile in the opening game of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Sapporo on Wednesday 21 July, followed by hosts Japan on three days later before travelling to Kashima to take on Canada on 27 July.