Boateng: Very powerful to take the knee in Champions League final
Jerome Boateng has urged players to take the knee before Champions League matches and says it would be “very powerful” to do so in next month’s final in Lisbon.
Players in the Bundesliga started the trend of going down on one knee before matches kicked off in support of Black Lives Matter. It was followed in the Premier League and now Boateng has called for it to continue in European football’s biggest club competition.
The Champions League final is one of the world’s most watched sporting events – with 380million tuning in to the 2018 final in Kiev between Real Madrid and Liverpool – and Boateng said it was the ideal global stage to continue the anti-racism protest.
“It’s very powerful and very important that we continue this in the Champions League, especially, of course, in the final because the whole world will look,” the 31-yearold Bayern Munich defender said. “It’s important to continue, and also in other sports, and hopefully in some sports that are not back yet, hopefully they will join us.”
Bayern are almost certainly guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals, with all eight teams left in the competition playing in Lisbon in oneoff games, as they lead Chelsea 3-0 from the first leg of their last-16 tie.
The second leg – which was due to be played on March 18 – will be played in Munich on Saturday, Aug 8. During lockdown, the issue of racism became an increasingly debated topic following the death of George Floyd in the United States.
“We talked about it before our break [after the German season ended], I talked actually to Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka about it,” Boateng explained. “They asked me how to support, how does it feel, what happened to you when you were younger, so I could tell them my story, my experiences, and why is it so painful and hard to hear those things, or [to have those] experiences, and then imagine people who are younger, maybe they face this for the first time, what you can do, how can people support it.
“There are some situations, of course, that are really hard to help, but you can always help in a situation. When it’s a group against one, and there’s nobody near, you never know, but if there’s somebody near, please call police, help, whatever, because that can help and save maybe a dangerous situation.”
Colin Kaepernick started kneeling symbolically during the pregame national anthem in the NFL in 2016 in protest at police violence against African-Americans. Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has voiced his support for football’s anti-racism protests and the governing body is unlikely to discourage players from taking a knee.
Player plea: Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng