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Premier League stars ‘take a knee’ against racism as football restarts

Players ‘take a
knee’ at Villa Park
as the Premier
League kicks off in
an empty

PREMIER League football kicked off again last night after a 100-day wait — with players and officials uniting to ‘take a knee’ against racism.

As the whistle sounded, Aston Villa and Sheffield United players performed the show of solidarity alongside referee Michael Oliver. The scene was repeated at the Etihad Stadium where Manchester City took on Arsenal.

Respect: Coat on seat for dad of Villa manager
Solidarity: Referee Michael Oliver joins players on pitch

At both games, the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ replaced players’ names on the back of shirts. Heart-shaped badges to honour the NHS were sewn into all kits and there was a minute’s silence for victims of coronavirus before kick-off. At Villa Park, a steward’s coat was draped over an empty seat in honour of Villa manager Dean Smith’s father Ron, 79, who died of the virus last month.

Show of hand: Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gives a salute at the Etihad