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UK Premier League distances itself from Black Lives Matter

Former Premier League stars Jamie Redknapp and Patrice Evra were not wearing Black Lives Matter badges during tonight’s coverage of Brighton v Manchester United. 

Since the league resumed, guests appearing on Sky Sports have worn badges with the campaign phrase after all 20 clubs agreed to use the slogan on their shirts for the first round  of games following the Covid-19 break. 

However, as Brighton took on Manchester United, the former Liverpool and Manchester United players were not wearing the badge. 

Pundits Jamie Redknapp, pictured, and Patrice Evra were not wearing Black Lives Matter badges when appearing on tonight’s show on Sky Sports

The pair were discussing Brighton v Manchester United on Sky Sports tonight

The pair were discussing Brighton v Manchester United on Sky Sports tonight

This follows a move by the Premier League to distanced itself from Black Lives Matter and said it ‘does not endorse’ the group after pundit Matt Le Tissier said he only wore their badge on TV after being asked to by Sky Sports bosses. 

The body said in a statement that while there is ‘no room for racism in football’, it does not support any ‘political organisation or movement’, nor any group which ‘calls for violence or condones illegal activity’. 

The dramatic about-turn came even though dozens of Premier League footballers have taken the knee – the symbol of the BLM movement – since the restart of the competition earlier this month.

The Premier League’s statement came after ex-player Mr Le Tissier, 51, criticised the group’s ‘far-left ideology’ and said he ‘could not support’ the cause’s anti-police and anti-capitalist aims.  

The Premier League has distanced itself from Black Lives Matter and said it 'does not endorse' the group after pundit Matt Le Tissier said he only wore their badge (circled) on TV after being asked to by Sky Sports bosses

The Premier League has distanced itself from Black Lives Matter and said it ‘does not endorse’ the group after pundit Matt Le Tissier said he only wore their badge (circled) on TV after being asked to by Sky Sports bosses

The body said in a statement that while there is 'no room for racism in football', it does not support any 'political organisation or movement', nor any group which 'calls for violence or condones illegal activity'. Pictured: Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher also wore the BLM badge on TV

The body said in a statement that while there is ‘no room for racism in football’, it does not support any ‘political organisation or movement’, nor any group which ‘calls for violence or condones illegal activity’. Pictured: Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher also wore the BLM badge on TV 

He had, along with fellow Sky pundit Jamie Carragher appeared on air wearing a Black Lives Matter badge but said he only did so after being asked to.  

In its statement, the Premier League said it stands alongside clubs and footballing bodies in supporting people who have ‘come together in recent weeks to reject racism and to show support for the message that black lives matter.’

However, it then went on: ‘We do not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.

‘We are aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes and campaigns to promote their own political views. 

‘These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected by the Premier League and all other professional football bodies, and they underline the importance of our sport coming together to declare a very clear position against prejudice.’ 

The message came after the UK arm of Black Lives Matter said it wants to defund the police completely and abolish capitalism and has pledged support for Palestine amid Israel’s plans to annex the West Bank.  

The group’s other aims prompted Le Tissier to tell MailOnline on Friday to air his criticism. 

The dramatic about-turn came even though dozens of Premier League footballers have taken the knee - the symbol of the BLM movement - since the restart of the competition earlier this month

The dramatic about-turn came even though dozens of Premier League footballers have taken the knee – the symbol of the BLM movement – since the restart of the competition earlier this month 

His words followed black footballer Karl Henry, who branded the group ‘divisive’.   

Le Tissier said bosses at Sky had asked him and other pundits to wear the logo for their appearances and he agreed, but pointed out he supported ‘the cause, not the organisation’. 

Speaking outside his home near Southampton, Hants, he said: ‘I just don’t agree with some of the points of that movement – specifically the defunding of the police and the anti capitalist points are things I do not agree with.

The Premier League’s statement in full

The Premier League stands alongside players, clubs, The FA, EFL, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and all those who have come together in recent weeks to reject racism and to show support for the message that black lives matter. These three words have become an expression of unity for people from all communities who believe it is unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else.

In an unprecedented move, Premier League players from all 20 clubs united in solidarity with this message and the Premier League supported their request to replace their names on the back of playing shirts with ‘Black Lives Matter’.

The Premier League offered this backing as we wholly agree with the players’ single objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists. And we are unequivocal in the belief that there is no room for racism in our competition, football as a whole, or the wider community. Together, all professional football bodies and the players and managers recognise the importance of the message that black lives matter. However, we do not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.

We are aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes and campaigns to promote their own political views. These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected by the Premier League and all other professional football bodies, and they underline the importance of our sport coming together to declare a very clear position against prejudice. We want our message to be a positive one that recognises football has the power to bring people together.

As the players have made clear, we will all continue to work to promote equality of opportunity – regardless of colour or creed – and celebrate the advantages of diversity wherever we can.

The Premier League believes there is no room for racism or any form of discrimination, anywhere #NoRoomforRacism.

‘They are the two main points for me. I am quite happy for them to have their point of view, but that is mine and that is where I sit.

‘I think a lot of people in the country would agree with me.

‘I will still wear the badge because I do of course believe black lives matter. It’s a simple thing,

‘I agree with the cause but there are parts of the organisation that I just cannot support.’

When asked whether pundits on Sky Sports had been told to wear the badge, Le Tissier laughed and said: ‘We were asked to wear it.’ 

He and Henry had been the only high-profile voices in football so far to raise concerns about the UK arm, which has protested over the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in the US.

Until them the sport had completely embraced the movement, with players taking the knee before Premier League and Championship matches kicked off.

But the past few days has seen the group embroiled in an anti-Semitism row and criticism of its ‘defund the police’ agenda. 

Presenters and guests on Sky Sports have worn BLM badges when appearing on programmes, but now Le Tissier says he has held talks with his bosses about this.

Meanwhile Henry has called for a ‘new inclusive and politically-neutral anti-racism movement’ after savaging the UK group online.

In response, the channel said no-one was obliged to wear the logo, with a source adding it supported the group simply for its anti-racism stance.

The Southampton legend and former England international replied to a tweet accusing him of ‘promoting a far-left ideology’ and said he had spoken with Sky Sports chiefs about the matter.  

Le Tissier is one of football’s most popular pundits after a glittering career at Southampton and was voted the greatest Premier League player of all time in a Eurosport poll.

He began the debate by urging his followers to remove him on Twitter if they were from the ‘far right or far left’. 

‘Morning peeps, polite request, if you’re far right or far left do me and yourselves a favour and unfollow me, it’ll be good for yours and our mental health as I couldn’t give 2 hoots how many followers I have I won’t be offended.’ 

One Twitter user replied: ‘If you are central Matt why wear a badge promoting a far left ideology?’ 

The 51-year-old wrote back: ‘That’s a good point and one which I’ve made to my boss already.’ 

Karl Henry spoke out against Black Lives Matter UK over their anti-capitalism and stance on trying to abolish the police (pictured here playing for Bolton in 2018)

Karl Henry spoke out against Black Lives Matter UK over their anti-capitalism and stance on trying to abolish the police (pictured here playing for Bolton in 2018)

 

Le Tissier appeared to echo tweets by former Wolves player Karl Henry who said he thought the public had tired of the Black Lives Matter UK organisation

Le Tissier appeared to echo tweets by former Wolves player Karl Henry who said he thought the public had tired of the Black Lives Matter UK organisation

Another said: ‘Maybe you should review your BLM badge wearing’, to which he responded: ‘I am reviewing’.

There has been plenty of reaction and debate following Le Tissier’s tweet, with another user saying he ‘hated this badging of the left and right’. 

Black Lives Matter: Group wants to abolish the police, smash capitalism and close all prisons

Black Lives Matter UK is the semi-official British offshoot of its American counterpart and has been the face of the UK’s protests over George Floyd’s death and racial equailty.

But while hundreds of thousands of people have donated millions to their cause, many will be unaware on many of the group’s more extreme aims.

The UK branch, just like the American arm of the movement, has a number of far-Left aims listed on its  wesbite.

They include the Marxist ‘commitment to dismantle capitalism’.

Elsewhere the group says it wants to use money it has raised to develop and deliver strategies ‘for the abolition of the police’.

The official Twitter account of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) UK movement has also been caught up in an antisemitism row.

It tweeted in support of Palestine over plans by Israel to annex its West Bank settlements.

The verified account claimed mainstream British politics were being ‘gagged of the right to critique Zionism,’ before Tweeting that the movement ‘loudly and clearly stands beside our Palestinian comrades’ and adding in block capitals ‘FREE PALESTINE’.

It sparked anger among the Jewish community, with some describing the idea of politicians being ‘gagged’ over their criticism of Zionism as being an ‘antisemitic trope’.

 The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said: ‘BLM should aspire to be a movement against racism that unifies people and achieves lasting change, not a movement that spreads hatred and achieves lasting division.

‘You cannot fight prejudice with prejudice.’ 

The group has been active online since mid-2016.

In December that year it endorsed the complete closure of all Britain’s prisons and detention centres, saying they were ‘inhumane, overcrowded and unsafe’.

The group has also expressed its opposition on Twitter to government initiatives including reform of the benefits system via the introduction of Universal Credit and the licensing of fracking. 

It has attacked everyone from Oxfam (‘big charities are nothing more than colonisers for the 21st century’) to Sir David Attenborough.

The group accused an episode of his 2018 TV series Dynasties, on chimpanzees, of being racist because the BBC naturalist complained that habitat destruction due to overpopulation was threatening the species with extinction.

‘Human activities can obviously compete with wildlife,’ the anomymous BLM Tweeter opined. ‘But ‘too many people’ always has a silent ‘black’.’

And one replied telling him ‘that BLM badge is a bit dodgy’.

There has been plenty of reaction and debate following Le Tissier’s tweet, with another user saying he ‘hated this badging of the left and right’. 

And one replied telling him ‘that BLM badge is a bit dodgy’.

Former Wolves, Stoke City, QPR, Bolton and Bradford City professional footballer Karl Henry also raised concerns about the aims of BLM UK. 

He tweeted yesterday: ‘I think the majority of the UK have now had enough of that organisation.       

‘A new inclusive and politically-neutral anti-racism movement to follow and get behind is much needed. Black people’s lives matter!

‘The divisive #BlackLivesMatter organisation, however, DOES NOT.’

Black Lives Matter encourage the slogan #DefundThePolice amid outcry over alleged violence by police towards black people, saying they ‘call for an end to the systemic racism that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked and our lives to be taken’.

In further remarks he took aim at some of the UK group’s far-left policies.   

He added: ‘Let’s just look at Capitalism, which #BlackLivesMatterUK want to abolish. 

‘It does NOT favour white people. It is not the enemy of the black community. 

‘Capitalism allows free enterprise and entrepreneurialism. If other communities can flourish under capitalism, so can we!’ 

Speaking about their views on the police on the Black Lives Matter website, the movement says Floyd’s death was a ‘breaking point’ and ‘a reminder that, for black people, law enforcement doesn’t protect or save our lives. They often threaten and take them’.

They have called for ‘a national defunding of police’, asking for ‘investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive’.

But there is a growing chorus of voices who want to know exactly who is behind the group.

Last week they posted a statement on various social media feeds, promising soon to ‘create a website’ that would ‘ease any confusion around which of the many Black Lives Matter organisations and platforms that have emerged is actually us’.

The statement also promised its spending ‘will be made public in the spirit of transparency and accountability in due course’. As to who is behind the organisation, it claimed its leaders were busy dealing with ’emergency legal matters’ and ‘the hostility of far-Right groups’ which represent ‘a genuine threat to our safety’.

Yesterday it seemed to be trying to row back on its police money remarks, tweeting a post at odds with its own published aims.

It said: ‘When we say ‘Defund the police’ we mean Invest in programmes that actually keep us safe like youth services, mental health and social care, education, jobs and housing. Key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system.’

A Sky Sports said none of the presenters were obliged to wear the badges.

One source familiar with the situation added: ‘It is the individual’s choice whether they wear the badges or not.

‘The channel’s support for Black Lives Matter is for the moral cause of the campaign for racial justice, rather than for any political organisation.’  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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