Team GB football team to take a knee at Tokyo Olympic Games

Great Britain's football team will take a knee before their matches at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, it was announced on Thursday.

Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) relaxed its policy on allowing athletes to protest at the Games but reiterated it was not acceptable on the podium.

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The England men's national team took a knee before every game at Euro 2020 while Premier League and Women's Super League players did the same before matches last season.

"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," Team GB head coach Hege Riise said in a statement.

"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."

British Olympic Association CEO, Andy Anson added: "As one of the most diverse and inclusive sports teams in the UK, Team GB will always support any athlete from any sport and their right to promote equality and a more just society, where it is carried out peacefully, respectfully and without disruption. By taking the knee our women's football side are embodying the values of Team GB."

The topic has been in the spotlight after England and Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings criticised UK politicians for not supporting the team's anti-racism stance at Euro 2020.

It comes after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received online racist abuse after missing penalties in England's defeat to Italy in the final on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Team GB also announced Steph Houghton, Sophie Ingle and Kim Little have been selected as the captains for the Olympics.

Team GB will open the tournament against Chile on July 21 before facing hosts Japan and Canada in Group E.