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Steph Houghton and Fran Kirby confirm both clubs will take knee at Wembley

Manchester City v West Ham United – FA Women’s Super League – Academy Stadium
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

England Women captain Steph Houghton confirmed Manchester City will be taking a knee ahead of their Community Shield match against Chelsea and stressed the importance of unity.

The fixture will be played before the men’s match at Wembley on Saturday.

Houghton says the club have thrown their support behind the Black Lives Matter campaign.

“It’s important to show we can always be together and united over equality, not just in football and sport but life in general,” the 32-year-old said.

“Over the period of pre-season we’ve been taking a knee as a team, as we’ve seen in the Premier League games, a lot of football games for the last few months.

“We’ll certainly be doing that at the weekend as well.

“As captain we have conversations with our own team-mates as to how comfortable we are. And the answer is yes we want to support as much as we possibly can and that’s a way of showing our support.

“We’ve done it in the friendlies over the last few weeks and we certainly will do it on Saturday as well.”

The Community Shield will be the first time women’s domestic football has taken place since the League Cup final on February 29 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the men’s players having taken the knee in the majority of Premier League matches, the women have been keen to add their voices of support. 

Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby said her club would also be taking part.

Kirby said: “I think it’s definitely in our intentions to take the knee before the game. I think sport is a really big empowering movement to relate to things like this.

“I think as a club at Chelsea we are provided with all the updates that we need in terms of knowing what the protocol is, what’s going on and what’s happening around the world.

“For us we need to show that we are supportive and that we are doing the right things and that we are educating, not just ourselves, but others in this situation and use our voice in a positive way and really strive to make people aware of the situations.

“That’s starting with us taking the knee on Saturday and that’s something that I know a lot of the girls and myself are very passionate about doing, so we will definitely be doing that.”