Paul Simpson says he is fully behind Carlisle United players’ decision to continue taking the knee before games.

While Premier League clubs will no longer perform the anti-racism gesture before every game, United will keep doing so.

And the Blues squad have the total support from manager Simpson.

The Carlisle boss said: “We had the discussion before the start of the season – the EFL gave clubs the option of what they wanted to do.

“We put it to the players. It’s their decision, and the players decided they wanted to continue taking the knee.

“What happens now is before the game, when I go with the team-sheet with the opposition, the referee asks if we want to [take the knee] – we say yes and then the other team have the decision whether they want to take the knee or not.

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“It’s something our players are keen to do. They feel as though the message is still strong enough and I’ll back them all the way on that.”

Premier League captains this week confirmed that teams would not take the knee before every game, but they would still do so before certain fixtures.

They said in a joint statement: "We have decided to select significant moments to take the knee during the season to highlight our unity against all forms of racism and in so doing we continue to show solidarity for a common cause.

"We remain resolutely committed to eradicate racial prejudice, and to bring about an inclusive society with respect and equal opportunities for all."

United’s taking of the knee before last weekend’s opening game against Crawley Town was applauded by a large majority of fans.

Simpson added: “Rightly so – they’re trying to get a message out because there is absolutely no place in sport for any sort of racism, or any sort of bullying that you might be able to talk about…

“We’ve got to make football grounds better places to go. It hurts me a bit when I think back to our senior men’s Euro final and compare that with the atmosphere in the Lionesses Euro final…why can’t we have that sort of atmosphere in a men’s football game?

“I thought the atmosphere [at Brunton Park] last Saturday was absolutely fantastic with our supporters.

“If we can make our stadiums a better place and environment for people to come, it’s got to encourage supporters to want to come into the stadium.

“Hopefully if we can get that message out that there’s no place for any bad behaviour, language, racist behaviour, we’re making real big strides to move forward.”