West Ham players will continue taking a knee, says Moyes

LONDON (Reuters) - West Ham United players will take a knee in their Premier League season opener against Newcastle United on Saturday to continue raising awareness about racial injustice, manager David Moyes said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Pre Season Friendly - West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth - London Stadium, London, Britain - September 5, 2020 West Ham United's Michail Antonio kneels in support of the Black Lives Matter protest Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

Players in the Premier League took a knee before kickoff last season upon its restart in June in support of the anti-racism protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in May.

“We will take a knee. We don’t think it’s something which will go away,” Moyes told reporters ahead of the Newcastle game at the London Stadium. “We want to see that everyone gets the same treatment.

“The more we can continue it, the more it will be challenged within governments throughout the world.”

On Thursday, the Premier League confirmed that players and match officials will wear a “No Room For Racism” badge on their shirts for the 2020-21 season, replacing the “Black Lives Matter” logo that previously appeared on kits.

Moyes, who replaced Manuel Pellegrini midway through last season, rescued West Ham from relegation for the second time as they picked up 12 points from the last seven games to finish 16th and the Scot is determined to build on that progress.

“I think from coming back in January we’ve made great improvements... certainly the run-in to the season was very good and we’re hoping those standards continue,” he said.

It has been a quiet transfer window so far for West Ham but their England midfielder Declan Rice has been heavily linked with a move to big-spending Chelsea by British media.

Moyes, however, said the 21-year-old is a vital part of his squad and the club have received no offers for the player.

“It was always the plan that there was no intention to lose Declan Rice - we had no bids and no enquiries,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to lose him anyway - he’s so important, a big part of the squad.”

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai; Editing by Ken Ferris