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The Athletic: Premier League clubs to sport Black Lives Matter, NHS badges on kits in return to play

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Players will have Black Lives Matter on the back of their shirts for the matchweek

Arsenal FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Ahead of its return to resume the 2019-20 season next week, Premier League players will have both a Black Lives Matter badge and a National Health Service badge on their kits per The Athletic’s David Ornstein. Additionally, players will have the words Black Lives Matter on the back of their shirts instead of their names for the first round of games.

The decisions came in a Thursday meeting where all 20 Premier League clubs agreed to matchday protocols. The Premier League previously pledged £20 million to the NHS and the league’s players started the #PlayersTogether initiative to raise money for the NHS, so a tribute to the organization as the coronavirus pandemic continues was expected. Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement is a more recent development following the killing of George Floyd last month and the subsequent worldwide protests against police brutality.

Ornstein’s reporting follows a Wednesday report from The New York Times’s Rory Smith that the idea to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement was brought up by the 20 Premier League captains in a routine call with league officials. Smith reported that Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín, Everton’s Seamus Coleman, and Watford’s Troy Deeney led the way and “suggested going beyond a display of gratitude to the National Health Service and to Britain’s other key workers.”

Players across the league and the world have shown solidarity with protestors in the last several weeks, including Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. Thuram and Sancho’s protests led FIFA to advise governing bodies not to punish players for doing the same, urging officials to use “common sense.”