Initially set to take place in June of 2020, the European football tournament saw its quadrennial event postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament, which kicked off on the 11th of June, gathered national football teams to take part in one of the most competitive sports competitions. In accordance with current sanitary regulations, the exciting competition also brought together fans from different countries and provided them the opportunity to watch their national team play. But one aspect to keep into account is the events that unfolded around the world, particularly the death of George Floyd, the global mobilization of the Black Lives Matter movement and other major conflict areas affecting human rights and justice.
Although players, fans and team administrations have a common shared interest to play football and win fixtures, there is an important gap in showing global solidarity in relation to racial, gender and religious discrimination. To combat such injustice acts, several teams and players have acknowledged that an urgent solution is required; they decided to take a knee before kick-off, a signature move of Colin Kaepernick in peacefully protesting for racial justice, transparency, and accountability in a systemic racist United States of America, which further became about addressing support for victims of racism around the world.
Taking the knee has become a polarizing issue, with fans respecting the progressive movement, while others voice their discontent by booing, yelling racial slur and reenacting stances discriminating certain minority groups. CD4Peace reiterates the need for global solidarity to strengthen important aspects such as inclusive, gender-responsive and indiscriminatory practices on and off the football pitch, as well as enabling an environment where fans become culturally diversified, aware and sensitive. Moreover, it supports sports institutional mechanisms to find solutions in tackling these negative practices and urges all fans fighting for the cause to continue silencing racists, xenophobic and homophobic on social media and in stadiums.