The Football Ferns have confirmed they will take a knee before tonight’s Olympic match against Australia as they join calls for greater racial equality.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee confirmed this afternoon the New Zealand women’s football team’s action.
New Zealand Olympic Committee Chef de Mission Rob Waddell said he fully backs the players as they become some of the first Olympic athletes to advocate for social justice under new IOC guidelines.
“We are delighted that the IOC has made room for athletes to use their voices for good at the Olympic Games and are proud of our athletes for making a global stand for greater racial equality," Waddell said in a statement.
“We fully support athlete advocacy where the New Zealand Team values are upheld.”
The Football Ferns face a tough campaign in Tokyo with the side drawing Australia, world champions USA and Rio silver medallists Sweden in their pool.
The team will either need to finish in the top two of their group or be one of the two best third-placed teams from the three women's pools in order to advance to the quarter-finals.
Captain Ali Riley told media earlier this week they back themselves despite the odds being against them on paper.
"I think if there's any team that could take the conditions we've been thrown into and the pressure of being in a group like this and come out of it successful, it's this team," Riley said.
"The belief that this team has, the unique culture and the togetherness and this mindset and getting past this underdog mentality that we are ranked below these teams - we're here to perform the best we can on these days and on these days, I think any team can win."
The Football Ferns play Australia at 11:30pm NZT tonight at Tokyo Stadium.