July 30, 2020 / 7:27 AM / 7 days ago

Bayern's Boateng urges players to take a knee in Champions League

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - DFB Cup - Third Round - Bayern Munich v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 5, 2020 Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng during the warm up before the match. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

(Reuters) - Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng says players must use the platform provided by the Champions League to continue sending messages about racial equality by taking a knee.

Athletes from around the world have taken a knee in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign, which gained momentum after George Floyd’s death in police custody in May.

Europe’s Champions League, which has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume next month.

“It’s very powerful and very important that we continue this in the Champions League, especially in the final, because the whole world will look,” said Boateng, whose side hold a 3-0 lead over Chelsea heading into the second leg of their last-16 tie on Aug. 8.

“Hopefully in some sports that are not back yet, they will join us. I think it’s very important.”

The German defender, who has been the victim of racial abuse in the past, said he had spoken to his Bayern team mates about the issues raised by the BLM movement.

“We talked about it before our break, I talked actually to Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka about it,” the 31-year-old said.

“They asked me how to support, how does it feel, what happened to you when you were younger, so I could tell them my story, what were my experiences, and why is it so painful and hard to hear those things.”

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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