Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta has revealed how he, the club, UEFA and the match officials felt about Alexandre Lacazette’s powerful gesture ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League tie against Slavia Prague on Thursday.
The Frenchman, who captained the Gunners for the night, took the knee directly in front of the Slavia players and stared them down.
All the other Arsenal players joined him, kneeling in unison, in a gesture to raise awareness in combating racism.
And while the Arsenal team passed the message, the Slavia Prague team stood with their arms around each other’s shoulders.
UEFA had earlier in the week handed Slavia Prague player, Ondrej Kudela, a 10-match ban for ‘racist behaviour’ towards Rangers’ Glen Kamara.
And the football body’s decision of just a 10-match ban has been heavily criticised, with UEFA only implementing the minimum suspension and failing to seize an opportunity to punish racism properly.
And Arteta said the players had discussed the move with him before taking the action, adding that the club, UEFA and referee were also supportive of it.
“They asked me and the club, they wanted to take that initiative,” Arteta told reporters after the game.
“They had the right reasons for it so the club was very supportive, I was supportive.
“Thankfully the referees and Uefa were supportive as well, so I think it was a good gesture.
“They came to me, they wanted to take that initiative. We spoke with the club to make sure we could follow the rules of Uefa and we can do it in the right way.
“We decided to take that approach, which I really like from the players and I must say Uefa was very supportive as well.
“The captains came to me and asked me to do that. I just supported them like the club did.”
Lacazette scored twice with Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe, completing a 4-0 demolition of the Czech side.
Arsenal will now face Spanish side, Villarreal in the semi-finals of the Europa League.