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Euro 2020: Italy will not take a knee for Black Lives Matter

....but entire Italian team will take a knee in Wembley Stadium tonight if Austria does.

Italy's national football team has decided not to "take the knee" before kick-off against Austria in the Euro 2020 match in London's Wembley Stadium on Saturday 26 June.

However the situation now appears to be less clear-cut than reported by Italy's media on Friday, with new reports suggesting that the entire Italian team will take the knee only if Austria does the same.

The all-or-nothing approach is designed to avoid a repeat of the divisive scene before the Italy-Wales match in Rome on Sunday when five Italian players knelt - together with the entire Welsh team - and six remained standing.

The five players - Federico Bernardeschi, Andrea Belotti, Emerson Palmieri, Matteo Pessina and Rafael Toloi - chose to make the anti-racist gesture to express their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The spectacle descended into a political case - with Italian politicians and the media weighing in with opposing views - a situation that Italy's football chiefs are keen to avoid.

Until now Italian players were free to choose whether or not to make the gesture, however it was subsequently decided to stop players from taking the knee, reflecting the majority view of the squad, to avoid any further "confusion."

After the players who did not kneel before the Wales match were criticised in the media, the Italian team issued a statement.

“On behalf of the entire squad, we reaffirm that we are against all forms of racism,” said communications chief Paolo Corbi, adding: "Adhering or not to a form of protest, a symbolic one at that, does not mean ignoring the fight against racism.”

The case, which comes as former US police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in jail for the murder of African-American George Floyd, has divided Italy's fans on social media.

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