Marcos Alonso to point to No To Racism badge rather than take a knee

'He is a grown up, a responsible person and it is his decision' - Tuchel

Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso has stopped taking a knee before matches as he thinks the anti-racism gesture is "losing a bit of strength".

Instead, the 30-year-old Spaniard says he prefers to stand and point to the No To Racism badge on his shirt sleeve.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha was the first Premier League player to stop taking a knee.

"I am fully against racism and I'm against every type of discrimination," said Alonso.

"I just prefer to put my finger to the badge where it says No To Racism, like they do in some other sports and football in other countries.

"I prefer to do it this way and, of course, to say very clearly that I am against racism and I respect everybody."

Players began taking the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement after the Premier League's 100-day hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic in June 2020.

Prior to the start of the current top-flight season, players from all 20 Premier League clubs said they would continue to take the knee as a symbol of their "unity against all forms of racism".

However, Zaha said earlier this year that players "should stand tall", and reiterated his view that taking the knee was "degrading".

On pointing to the No To Racism badge rather than take a knee, Alonso added: "I just prefer to do it this way. It's my way to do it, and maybe I think it's losing a bit of strength the other way.

"So I just prefer to do it this way and to show I am fully supportive of fighting against racism.

"For now, I prefer to point to the sleeve and that's what I will do."

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said that the club accepted Alonso's decision and that he could understand the player's stance.

"It wasn't a discussion within the group but of course if a player takes a decision like this, we are not in a bubble, so of course discussions come up," said the Blues boss.

"The most important thing for me is that I know Marcos and I trust 1,000% that he is absolutely committed against any form of racism, there is no question about it. We are all against it.

"We took all together the decision to take the knee, maybe it takes sometimes also an action against a routine to wake up again and to have another good discussion.

"The discussion can only be in one direction because we all have the same point - we want to do the most against racism and stand up against it.

"Marcos took his decision. He is a grown up, a responsible person and it is his decision. We accept it.

"Once you do it so often, because there are so many games, that it becomes normal and then maybe it lowers the effect of it. If this is his point, I can see his point."

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