England vs Croatia: FA urges fans to respect players who kneel at Wembley | Football news

The FA urged England fans who oppose players kneeling before games to “think about the message you send to players you support” ahead of their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.

Some fans booed when England players knelt down ahead of their pre-tournament friendlies against Austria and Romania at Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.

Fans have now been asked to stifle any applause when England takes on Croatia.

Scotland have also confirmed they will drop to one knee rather than oppose racism ahead of kick-off when they face England at Wembley on Friday to offer a united front.

Gareth Southgate’s team face Croatia in north London on Sunday and the FA reiterated that they did not view kneeling “as being aligned with any political organization or ideology”.

“Tomorrow our England senior men’s team will start their EURO 2020 campaign at home, Wembley Stadium,” the FA statement read on Saturday evening.


FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said a video they produced will be used to “galvanize” fans and explain exactly why players are on their knees in the continued fight against racism.

“Big tournaments don’t happen often and when they do, it’s a chance to bring friends, families and the country together. This collective support is what energizes our team in difficult times and gives them the best chance for success.

“As the team have said on several occasions, they will collectively kneel before their matches during the tournament.

“They do this as a mechanism for peaceful protest against discrimination, injustice and inequality. It is personally important for the players and the values ​​the team collectively represents.

“This gesture of unity and tackling inequality dates back to the 18th century. It is nothing new and English football has made it clear that it does not see this as being aligned with any political organization or ideology.

England v New Zealand - Second LV = Insurance Test - Day Two - Edgbaston Former West Indies cricketer Michael Holding commenting for Sky Sports ahead of day two of the second LV = Insurance Test match at Edgbaston, Birmingham.  Picture date: Friday June 11, 2021.


Sky Sports cricketer Michael Holding praised Gareth Southgate and his England team for “showing the backbone” by kneeling amid criticism from some fans.

“There is no doubt why the players kneel down and what that means in a football context

“We encourage those who oppose this action to think about the message you are sending to the players you support.

“Please respect their wishes and remember that we must all be united in the fight against discrimination. Together.

“They will do their best for you. Please do your best for them.”

Boos heard as Belgian players kneel against Russia

Belgian players kneel ahead of their game against Russia in anti-racist gesture
Belgian players kneel ahead of their game against Russia in anti-racist gesture

Boos were heard at the Krestovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg as the Belgian players knelt before their game against Russia on Saturday.

When contacted by Sky Sports News, UEFA said it has “zero tolerance against racism and any player who wants to demand equality between human beings by kneeling will be allowed to do so.”

“We urge spectators to show respect to the teams and players who kneel,” he added.

Sky Sports News also contacted the Belgian and Russian football associations for comment.

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