Players of Aston Villa and Sheffield United took a knee at kick-off in support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement as the 2019/2020 English Premier League (EPL) season restarted on Wednesday.
They were joined by the match referee, Michael Oliver, as well as the other officials.
The league returned after a 100-day hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To support the worldwide protests against racism, the players’ names on the back of their shirts were replaced with the words “Black Lives Matter”.
A moment of silence followed after the kneeling protest in memory of those who died in the coronavirus pandemic.
The match at a rainy Villa Park was also the first in Premier League history to be played without fans, and with strict health protocols in place.
Only 300 personnel were allowed into a stadium divided into three different security zones to try to restrict any possible spread of the novel coronavirus.
There were no traditional routines at the start of a match, with teams emerging from their changing rooms separately, players lining up two metres apart and handshakes were banned.
No ballboys were in attendance.
The match was the first of 92 to be played inside the next six weeks to finish the Premier League season.