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The FA has urged England supporters who oppose players taking a knee before games to “reflect on the message you are sending to the players you are supporting” ahead of their opening Euro 2020 game against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.

Some supporters booed when England players took a knee ahead of their pre-tournament friendlies against Austria and Romania at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.

Fans have now been asked to drown out any boos with applause when England face Croatia.

Scotland have also confirmed they will take a knee rather than stand against racism prior to kick-off when they face England at Wembley on Friday in order to offer a united front.

Gareth Southgate’s side take on Croatia in north London on Sunday and the FA has reiterated that it does not regard taking a knee “as being aligned to a political organisation or ideology”.

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

Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling take a knee (PA)


FA chief executive Mark Bullingham says a video they have produced will be used to ‘galvanise’ fans and explain exactly why players take a knee in the continued fight against racism.

“Major tournaments don’t come around often and when they do, it’s an opportunity to unite friends, families and the country. 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 players 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.

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


Sky Sports cricket pundit Michael Holding praised Gareth Southgate and his England team for ‘showing backbone’ by taking a knee amid criticism from some fans.

“There can be no doubt as to why the players are taking the knee and what it represents in a footballing context

“We encourage those that oppose this action 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.

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

Boos heard as Belgium players took a knee vs Russia

Belgium players knelt before their match against Russia in an anti-racism gesture
Belgium players knelt before their match against Russia in an anti-racism gesture

Boos were heard in the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg as Belgium’s players took a knee prior to 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 amongst human beings by taking the knee will be allowed to do so”.

“We urge spectators to show respect for teams and players taking the knee,” it added.

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

Kick It Out reporting racism

Online Reporting Form | Kick It Out

Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion organisation – working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.

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