Football: Chelsea's Marcos Alonso to stop taking the knee as gesture 'losing strength'

Marcos Alonso will instead point to an anti-racism badge on his shirt before kick-off. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso will no longer take the knee as a sign of protest against racism because the Spain left-back believes the gesture is "losing a bit of strength".

He will instead point to an anti-racism badge on his shirt before kick-off.

Former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the trend of taking the knee to protest against police brutality and racial inequality.

English Premier League clubs first began to perform the gesture when the 2019-20 season recommenced after a three-month stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the wake of protests over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in the United States.

England's preparations for Euro 2020 were affected by some of their own supporters booing the act in pre-tournament friendlies against Romania and Austria.

Any sign of protest was drowned out by support as the Three Lions progressed to their first major tournament final for 55 years.

However, three black England players - Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka - were still racially abused online after missing penalties against Italy in the shoot-out.

"I am fully against racism and I'm against every type of discrimination, and I just prefer to put my finger to the badge where it says 'no' to racism, like they do in some other sports and football in other countries," said Alonso.

"It's my way to do it, I think it's another way. And maybe I think it's losing a bit of strength the other way, so I just prefer to do it this way and to show I am fully supportive of fighting against racism."

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player to decide against taking the knee back in March.

The Ivory Coast international explained the reasoning for his decision was the gesture has "become a part of the pre-match routine" and done little to curb racist abuse.

Alonso said he has not discussed the issue with his teammates.

"We haven't talked about it," added the 30-year-old.

"We are in the changing room and we are like a family. I have a very good relationship with everyone, I love everyone and up to now we haven't talked about it.

"I don't think there is a need to, but, of course, if I have to speak to anyone, I will say the same thing I just told you and I don't think there will be any problems."

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