Sections of England fans IGNORE desperate plea and JEER players taking knee ahead of Croatia match at Euro 2020
Sections of England supporters defied a pre-match plea from the Football Association and jeered as Three Lions players took a knee before the start of their Euro 2020 game with Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.
Boos and whistles were heard around the stadium before the starting whistle as the England team – led by captain Harry Kane – dropped to one knee while their Croatian counterparts remained standing.
The jeers were soon drowned out by loud cheering from the remainder of the crowd, but were nonetheless picked up on by broadcasts and media inside Wembley.
Boos drowned out by cheers as England players take a knee.— James Olley (@JamesOlley) June 13, 2021
The continued disdain from some fans for the take a knee gesture – linked to support for Black Lines Matter – came despite the FA earlier issuing a desperate message for fans to get behind players performing the act.
“Major tournaments don’t come around often and when they do, it's an opportunity to unite friends, family and the country,” the FA had written in a social media post on the eve of the game.
“This collective support is what spurs our team on during challenging moments and it gives them the best chance of succeeding.
“As the team has reiterated many times, they will collectively take the knee ahead of their fixtures during the tournament.
“They are doing this as a mechanism of peacefully protesting against discrimination, injustice and inequality.
“This is personally important to the player and the values the team collectively represents.
“This gesture of unity and fighting against inequality can be traced back as far as the 18th century.
“It is not new, and English football has made it very clear that it does not view this as being aligned to a political organisation or ideology.
“There can be no doubt as to why the players are taking a knee and what it represents in a footballing context.
“We encourage those who oppose these values to reflect on the message you are sending to the players you are supporting.
“Please respect their wishes and remember that we should all be united in the fight to tackle discrimination. Together.”
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Sections of the Three Lions support clearly don’t buy the claims that the gesture is non-political, perhaps unsurprisingly considering how closely linked it has been with the BLM movement – elements of which are radically left-wing.
Similar pleas from England manager Gareth Southgate also fell on deaf ears as fans booed the gesture in both of England’s Euro 2020 warm-up games, held at Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.
At Wembley on Saturday, large sections of the 22,000-strong England support were heard cheering in support of the act, indicating the issue remains divisive.
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England are kicking off their Euro 2020 campaign against rivals who beat them in the World Cup semi-final in Russia three years ago.
After taking on Croatia, Southgate’s team have further Group D home games against Scotland and the Czech Republic at Wembley.
Based on Sunday’s scenes, the FA and others should brace themselves for more defiance from some sections of fans over a gesture which has already been branded performative and ineffectual, even among the most ardent campaigners for racial equality.
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