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Millwall and QPR players link arms in solidarity in fight against racism

Millwall and QPR players were applauded as they joined arms and raised an anti-racism banner ahead of their Championship match on Tuesday.

It comes after a number of Lions fans booed on their first game back with spectators on Saturday as the players took the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead their side’s match against Derby.

Discussions had been ongoing this week between members of staff at the club, including players, as to how to approach tonight’s game.

And on Monday there was a meeting between Millwall, QPR, Kick It Out, Show Racism The Red Card, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the Football Association (FA) and the English Football League (EFL).

The idea for players to link arms ahead of kick-off was seen as the best solution, although a number of players also took the knee.

Both sets of players held a banner ahead of kick-off

But there was no repeat of the scenes on Saturday at the Den, with the crowd generally responding positively.

A statement released by Millwall ahead of the game read: “Players from Millwall and Queens Park Rangers will stand arm-in-arm with each other in a show of solidarity for football’s fight against discrimination ahead of kick-off at The Den on Tuesday night.

“The two teams will hold aloft a banner to show their collective commitment towards ongoing efforts to rid the game of racism in a positive move which has been supported by Kick It Out, Show Racism The Red Card, The PFA, The FA and The EFL following discussions with the club in recent days.

“Millwall believe that this gesture, which the club hopes to repeat with other visiting teams in the coming weeks and months, will help to unify people throughout society in the battle to root out all forms of discrimination.

Millwall handed a letter to all fans attending the game against QPR

“Kick It Out’s logo will also replace that of principal partner Huski Chocolate on the front of Millwall’s shirts for the London derby.

“QPR have informed Millwall that a selection of their players wish to take the knee as a way of showing their support for anti-discrimination efforts – a gesture which the club respects and it firmly asks all those in attendance to do likewise.

“Millwall have a zero-tolerance policy against racial and all other forms of discrimination and want to again make clear to anybody who holds such views that you are not welcome at this football club. Millwall’s stance, as always, is that anybody found guilty of racial abuse is banned for life.”

Millwall also said they had started an “audit of board members, staff, volunteers and participants as part of an ongoing commitment towards equality, diversity and inclusion”.

A special anti-racism shirt is also being worn tonight

The club added that a “new widespread and multi-faceted anti-discrimination strategy” would include “the formation of an equality, diversity and inclusion code of practice to cover departments throughout the club’s activities and recruitment processes.”

And they also gave a letter to all fans attending the game against QPR ahead of kick-off urging them to respect the show of unity between the two sets of players.

The Hoops also released a statement ahead of the game.

Chief executive Lee Hoos said: “We have always been at the forefront of encouraging equality and diversity while tackling discrimination in all its forms.

“Our initial approach to this particular situation was for all our players to take the knee in a show of solidarity.

Some players chose to continue taking the knee

“However, following a series of discussions with Millwall, as well as internal conversations involving myself, director of football Les Ferdinand, manager Mark Warburton and the entire first team squad, it was agreed that standing shoulder to shoulder with our opposition players would be a more powerful response.

“On top of this, some of our players wish to take the knee and we fully support this action.

“As I said in September on this subject (after QPR did not take a knee ahead of their game against Coventry), each individual needs to be free to make their own decision on how to express intolerance for social injustice, without fear of being negatively judged.”




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