Taking the knee can cause tension: France's Varane

World champions did not take a knee in Munich with the defender saying it was a unanimous decision by the team

REUTERS June 17, 2021


Taking the knee before matches has lost some of its meaning and can create "a lot of tension", France centre back Raphael Varane said.

The anti-racism gesture was at the centre of controversy before the European Championship got underway when England players were booed by some of their own fans in two friendlies, while Ireland were also jeered in Hungary.

World champions France did not take a knee before Tuesday's 1-0 win over Germany in their Euro 2020 campaign opener, with Varane saying it was a unanimous decision by the team.

"Everything around racism and discrimination we discuss between ourselves and through that we didn't find that taking the knee has the same meaning that it did at the beginning," Varane said.

"When one team puts their knee on the ground and the other doesn't, it can create a lot of tension, so we don't have a clear message to give."

Varane said the way to tackle racism is "to play together and be united".

"If there is a clear message with all the teams, obviously France will be the first to support a cause as powerful as the fight against racism," he added.

France play Hungary in their next Group F game on Saturday.