January 13 – On a weekend when France’s top two divisions staged a collective protest to mobilise the fight against racism in football stadiums, a second division club went one step further.
Just before the start of their home game against Troyes, Clermont Foot 63’s players decided to “take a knee”, the symbolic gesture started by Colin Kaepernick, the American football star who famously kneeled during the US national anthem in protest against police brutality and racial inequality.
A few months later, female soccer star Megan Rapinoe also took a knee at a match between the Chicago Red Stars and Seattle Reign FC.
On Friday, all Clermont Foot 63’s players gathered round the centre circle and put one knee on the ground.
“Racism is an abomination, completely contrary to the values of Clermont Foot 63 and football,” said the club’s Swiss president Ahmet Schaefer. “It must have no place on the pitch, in the stands and in our society.”
Clermont Foot have been powerful advocates of anti-discrimination. In August 2014 the club appointed Corinne Diacre as manager of the first team. She was the first woman to coach a men’s professional team in a competitive match in a major European country.
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