The controversy over whether soccer players should take a knee before games, according to former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, has diverted attention away from the real problem of racial discrimination.
Since July, players in England’s top flight have taken a knee in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign, before the English Football League and Premier League related the gesture to their own anti-racism movements.
Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace became the first Premier League player to refuse to take a knee this month, arguing that the sense of the “degrading” gesture has been lost.
“There was the debate recently about taking the knee or standing, but that’s not the debate,” former France international Henry, who suffered racial abuse during his playing career, told CNN Sport. “That’s not the cause.
“The cause is: what are you going to do for it to be better for everybody? Equality. Everybody, and obviously I’m going to talk about my community.
“I thought kneeling was a strong message and we all know where it comes from, but then the discussion moved to: are we standing or are we kneeling?
“What about the cause? What about the main point of why we are doing it in the first place? Or why we still have to do it? That’s something for me that is very important and we keep on forgetting about it.”
Henry, 43, deleted his social media accounts last week in protest of the sites’ failure to take action against anonymous account holders who engage in online bullying and racism.
Following racist tweets directed at players, English soccer’s governing bodies said last month that Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were “havens for bullying” and urged the social media companies to address the problem.
Instagram has unveiled a series of steps to combat online harassment, while Twitter has vowed to continue its efforts to combat the issue, citing more than 700 cases of “abuse and hateful behavior” related to soccer in the United Kingdom in 2019.
Rangers fear major exit for ‘key’ player wanted by clubs abroad
Scott Arfield has been a vital part of the Rangers team since joining in 2018, and his current form, especially after van Bronckhorst took charge, is nothing short of exemplary.
The 33-year old Scottish-Canadian’s display is on a high now, and he recently helped his side’s win against Livingston with his “unbelievable” (according to Richard Foster) 75th minute goal.
He is a must-keep, but according to transfermarkt, the reigning Scottish champions risk losing him and other senior team members, including Steven Davis and Allan McGregor, in the summer following contract expiry.
The Mirror’s print edition reported that the Gers fear letting their No. 37 go in exchange for nothing, given that USA clubs have their sights set on the midfielder, and his contract is only months away from expiry.
Money included or not, Scott’s departure could be a big blow come next season since he now practically determines Rangers’ performance (the one time he didn’t play after Gerrard’s exit is the only time Rangers dropped points.)
Hopefully, Rangers will consider holding talks to fight for the former Huddersfield Town’s contract extension, and he (Scott) is willing to stay in Scotland and at Ibrox, otherwise the double loss in terms of money and talent could hugely affect the Gers next season.
Liverpool win race for £50m Porto star
Liverpool are preparing a late £45 million bid for Porto striker Luis Diaz, who is also being pursued by Tottenham.
The Colombian winger was Jurgen Klopp’s first option for the summer transfer window, but due to Spurs’ significant interest, Liverpool have hastened their preparations.
Liverpool is thought to be proposing an initial £37 million, plus bonuses, which will only be activated if Diaz is a major success at Anfield.
Tottenham has been in discussions with Porto over Diaz, reportedly willing to spend up to £46 million for the player.
Spurs are reportedly willing to pay £37.6 million upfront for Diaz, with an extra £8.4 million in performance-related add-ons, according to reports in Portugal.
Spurs have already appeared to miss out on Wolves attacker Adama Traore, who appears poised to return to Barca on loan, and missing out on Luiz would be another major blow this month.
It is unclear whether Diaz will move to Anfield this month or wait till the end of the season. In 18 outings for his current club this season, he has managed to score 14 goals.
Sky Sports reporter Vinny O’Connor:
“Obviously, it’s far from done and could easily come to nothing.
“However, Liverpool view this as an excellent deal if it gets completed – very much close to a Diogo Jota-type fee. Also, it is far better value than the original €60m asking price.
“Diaz was Jurgen Klopp’s first choice for the summer, but they have brought those plans forward because it was clear if Liverpool didn’t act this window, the player would move on.
“This isn’t done and could yet collapse – the player is in Argentina with his national team, so it will be far from straightforward to complete the deal.
“However, if it does get done, it’s a big coup for Julian Ward, who is to succeed sporting director Michael Edwards in the summer. It was a deal in which Ward lead for the first time, but it is fair to say he’s been supported strongly by Edwards who put together the strategy to secure the player this month.”
Two Everton midfielders out for minimum of four weeks
After suffering injuries in the last week, Everton midfielders Abdoulaye Doucoure and Fabian Delph will both be out for at least four weeks.
The injury to Doucoure occurred in the second half of Everton’s 1-0 loss to Aston Villa on Saturday, while the injury to Delph occurred in training.
Duncan Ferguson, the interim manager, suddenly has a scarcity of fit midfield players, with Tom Davies also sidelined for a prolonged period.
Allan, Andre Gomes, and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, as well as Tyler Onyango, are available.
An Everton statement read: “Everton midfielders Abdoulaye Doucoure and Fabian Delph are expected to be out for a minimum of four weeks after sustaining injuries.
“Frenchman Doucoure was forced off in the 65th minute of Saturday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa at Goodison Park due to a groin problem.
“Subsequent tests have revealed the 29-year-old requires a period of rehabilitation under the care of Everton’s medical staff at USM Finch Farm.
“Meanwhile, Delph sustained a thigh injury during a training session this week and is now undergoing treatment with the club’s medical team.”
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