England vs Croatia: Gareth Southgate’s side booed for kneeling, but majority of fans applaud gesture | Football news

England players were initially booed by sections of the crowd before applause and cheers erupted as the team knelt before their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday .

Although the FA has urged fans who oppose the pre-match gesture to “think about the message you send to the players you support,” the advice has been ignored by a small portion of the 22,500 spectators expected.

Some supporters had already booed England players by kneeling ahead of their pre-tournament friendlies against Austria and Romania at Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.

The FA and the England squad have repeatedly reiterated that taking a knee is not aligned with political organization or ideology with fans invited to stifle the boos of applause.

Once the boos were heard inside Wembley, many supporters began to cheer as the Croatia squad remained standing as they had confirmed they would do so before the game.

England boss Gareth Southgate said last week he would not allow his players to continue to be questioned about the knee and the resulting reaction once the tournament began.

The English players were booed by a small part of the crowd as they knelt before the game against Croatia.

A UEFA spokesperson confirmed ahead of the match that the governing body cannot punish nations whose supporters react to the gesture.

“UEFA has zero tolerance against racism and any player who wants to demand equality between human beings by taking the knee will be allowed to do so,” he said.

“We urge spectators to show respect to teams and players who kneel down.

“UEFA will not take disciplinary action against the national association for the reaction of its supporters to this initiative as there is no legal reason to do so in the current competition and disciplinary regulations and to do so would amount to punishing a national association whose players have taken a stand against racism. “

England’s next Group D game is against Scotland at Wembley on Friday night with manager Steve Clarke and captain Andy Robertson confirming that the team will drop to one knee in order to offer a united front.


Polling firm YouGov conducted a study in March this year on the knee, with 4,500 football fans surveyed in nine countries

Getting down to one knee: fan opinions revealed in poll

More football fans in Europe – including England, Scotland and Wales – are supportive of kneeling players than against, but they are divided over the importance of the gesture in the fight against racism, according to a major survey.

Poll company YouGov shared with Sky Sports News the results of a study of 4,500 football fans in nine countries in March of this year, during the football season.

Most nations and groups had more fans supporting the kneeling players, with opposition mostly coming from a vocal minority.

Fans were asked: In some countries, professional footballers and staff have chosen to kneel down at the start of each match to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Would you like to support or oppose professional players and staff in your country kneeling in this way before every match?

YouGov survey shows support from fans across Europe to kneel down
YouGov survey shows support from fans across Europe for kneeling

In England, According to a survey of 547 football fans, 54% said they supported players and staff getting down on their knees to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Half of those people (27 percent) said they supported her strongly, the other half supported her somewhat.

Some 39 percent of football fans in England said they objected to players putting on one knee while seven percent said they didn’t know. Over the past fortnight, England players have been booed by some of their own fans in their last two Euro 2020 warm-up matches at Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.

In Scotland 49% said they supported players who kneel, with 42% against according to a poll conducted in late February of 352 football fans. In Wales, out of a sample of 308 football fans, 53% said they supported the gesture and 37% opposed it.

Portugal fans are more likely to think taking a knee is important in fighting racism
Portugal fans are more likely to think taking a knee is important in fighting racism

YouGov also spoke to a sample of nearly 200 football supporters of various ethnicities in Britain. Of those fans, 78 percent said they supported it, 12 percent didn’t, with 10 percent saying they didn’t know.

There were also high levels of fan support in some European countries. Portugal had the highest with 79 percent, followed by Italy (73 percent) and Spain (71 percent). Only the Netherlands had less support and more opposition with 44% in favor and 45% not supporting the movement.

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