The English FA will take no disciplinary action against Millwall or Colchester, whose fans booed players when they took a knee ahead of their match on December 5. Having investigated the incident, the governing body decided that no further action will be taken.
The FA, however, reiterated its stance that it will continue to support anyone who chooses to take the knee. The FA does not view the anti-racism gesture as a political symbol.
"Having carefully considered these matters, including the observations from all relevant parties, we can confirm that no formal disciplinary action will be taken against the clubs concerned on this occasion,” read the release.
“However, The FA would like to further clarify that anyone who chooses to take the knee will continue to receive our support as they highlight the inequality and injustice experienced by the Black community,” it added.
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"To be clear, we do not see taking the knee as a political symbol, and would contend that there can now be no doubt as to what the gesture means in a footballing context. Therefore, going forward, The FA will continue to monitor and investigate should similar crowd-related incidents occur.
"The FA continues to support all players and clubs that wish to take a stand against any form of discrimination, and will always condemn the behaviours of anyone that chooses to actively oppose these values."
FA’s stance means that any incidents of booing while players take the knee will no longer be afforded the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, Cambridge fans booed the gesture this week.
Taking the knee was brought to prominence by NFL star Colin Kapaernick in 2016 during the playing of the national anthem in protest against racist discrimination by police. The gesture now gets used commonly as a symbolic gesture against racism. The EFL had agreed that players could take the knee under the banner of its own anti-racist campaign, “not today, or any day”.
Asian Champions League final: Ulsan vs Persepolis
At 17:30 IST, today, the longest Asian Champions League tournament in history will end. With a sigh of relief if not a bang or a whimper. More than 11 months after the first ball was kicked, Ulsan Horang-i of South Korea will take on Iranian giants Persepolis in Doha, Qatar, in the final.
Having seen the tournament get suspended from March to September because of Covid-19, this game — as all remaining games before this — will be played in Qatar in a biosecure setting.
Ulsan have been in Doha since November, playing eight games in 23 days, including last Sunday’s 2-1 semifinal win over Vissel Kobe of Japan, and winning all eight to set a tournament record. After missing out on the K-League title on the final day of the last two seasons, the Korean side hope to end 2020 on a high and add to its 2012 Asian title.
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“Before we came here, morale was low in our squad because we had lost two domestic titles,” Ulsan coach Kim Do-hoon said. ”But after we arrived the players tried to enjoy the moment and we tried to make our own atmosphere as a team. I really appreciate everyone’s effort.”
Junior Negrao, the top scorer in the 2020 K-League season, has scored five times in the continental tournament and scored both goals in the come-from-behind win over the big-spending Kobe.
If Ulsan win it will be South Korea’s 12th continental crown, a record in the Champions League and its Asian Club Championship predecessor.
Iran, in contrast, have not produced a champion since 1993, but have in Persepolis a club that reached the final a little over two years ago (losing then to Kashima Antlers). Of the 14 players who made an appearance across the two legs of the 2018 AFC Champions League final, only six remain at Persepolis.
The Iranians recovered from losing their first game of the campaign to top Group C, then continued their march to the final. Should they win the title, they would become the first to do so after losing their opening match since Western Sydney Wanderers in 2014.
For Indians (who won’t be able to watch the spectacle because of a lack of broadcast rights) the name Bashar Resan will provoke memories. Resan was part of Baghdad’s Air Force Club in 2016 when they beat Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup. Resan swapped his hometown for Tehran the following summer and will become the first player to win the AFC Cup and the Champions League if Persepolis go on to lift the title.
Serie A Domestic Fundraising Hopes
Italy’s top flight aims to raise at least €1.15 billion ($1.4 billion) per season over the next three years from the sale of pay-TV rights for its home market, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.
At a meeting on Friday, clubs approved the terms of a tender that will likely be launched in January, the sources said. Under a three-year contract expiring in 2021, Serie A raised €973 million per season from the sale of its domestic licenses to Comcast’s unit SKY and global sports provider DAZN.
Serie A is breaking up its media rights business and selling a minority stake in the unit to private equity investors, in a move aimed at propping up revenues in the face of the pandemic.
Also on Friday, Amazon said it has secured exclusive rights to screen top European Champions League matches in Italy on its Prime Video platform for the 2021-2024 seasons, in its first foray into broadcasting sports events in the country.
The League did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.
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