'Black Lives Matter' set to replace Premier League player names on back of shirts for opening round of restart fixtures

The shirt tribute was reported to have been proposed by a group of Premier League captains and Professional Footballers’ Association representatives

English Premier League players will pay tribute to worldwide anti-racism movements by wearing shirts with the words "Black Lives Matter" on the back during the opening round of fixtures at the season's restart.

The words will replace player surnames on the back of the shirt, while the BLM logo will be displayed on the front, according to reports in the British media.

Heart-shaped badges paying tribute to NHS workers for their work during the coronavirus crisis are also planned for the shirts, while there will also be a minute's silence at the games to ­honour those who have died as a result of the pandemic.

The tribute comes amid worldwide protests against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Several Premier League clubs in recent weeks have posed taking a knee, like former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who popularised the gesture as a way to protest racial issues.

On Thursday, Arsenal players were warmed up ahead of their friendly match against Brentford wearing T-shirts in support of the BLM movement.

Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle United players have also been pictured taking a knee during training over the last couple of weeks.

Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt said on Wednesday that players needed to "come together" in support of BLM. "I'm prepared to do it [take a knee], 100 per cent. They've done it in Germany and Premier League teams have done it in training. We have a platform and as a global sport, we have to come together," he told Sky Sports.

“Everyone has [been talking about it], not just the players. The manager has … the whole club. The white players are asking … how can we help?”

Clubs will also respect one minute's silence for those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic and kits will include a heart-shaped badge in honour of NHS and frontline staff during the crisis.

The Premier League will resume on June 17 after a three-month stoppage due to the outbreak, which has caused more than 41,000 deaths in the United Kingdom.

Updated: June 12, 2020 11:34 AM


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