The Team GB women’s football team have confirmed they will drop to one knee before their matches at the Tokyo Olympics kick off and have selected three captains – one from England, Wales and Scotland – for the tournament.
With its first game on Wednesday against Chile in Sapporo, the team welcomed the recent clarification made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on rule 50 to allow athletes to make gestures on the playing field, provided that they do so without disturbance and with respect for other competitors.
Manager Hege Riise said: “The players and staff have been on their knees at club and international level for over a year now and we were all united in our decision to continue doing our utmost to raise awareness of racism and discrimination in all its forms, standing in unity and solidarity with all whose lives are affected.
“We are clear that kneeling is an important symbol of peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality in society and we are pleased that the IOC has recognized 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, respecting the ideals that are at the heart of the Olympic movement. “
Riise also said England captain Steph Houghton, Welsh captain Sophie Ingle and Scotland vice-captain Kim Little will share the GB team’s armband match by match in Japan. “We are fortunate to have so many experienced and talented players on our team and we see ourselves as a ‘leader’ team, where each individual brings their own leadership strengths to the group.
” However. Steph, Sophie and Kim will lead the way on the pitch. It’s a very close group on and off the pitch and I was so impressed with how they all came together.
Team GB played their first game since the 2012 Olympics on Wednesday in a closed-door warm-up friendly against New Zealand at Todoroki Stadium in Kawasaki. Manchester City forward Ellen White scored twice and new Arsenal signed Nikita Parris once with new teammate Kim Little, the team captain for a 3-0 victory.