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England fans boo taking of the knee before first Euro 2020 game against Croatia

·1-min read
England take the knee at Wembley (Getty)
England take the knee at Wembley (Getty)

Some England fans booed the players' anti-racism gesture of taking a knee before their opening Euro 2020match with Croatia at Wembley.

The taking of the knee was booed at both of England's warm-up games at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium over the past two weeks, leading Gareth Southgate to speak out in defence of his players and even write an open letter to fans calling for the country to come together.

Ahead of the start of Euro 2020, Southgate reasserted England's intention to take the knee throughout the tournament, and on Saturday the Football Association called for fans to support the team's stance.

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However some of the 22,500 supporters at Wembley did boo before they were drowned out by cheers and applause.

A Uefa spokesman said ahead of the game the governing body cannot punish any nations whose supporters do react to the gesture.

“UEFA has a 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,” he said.

“We urge spectators to show respect for teams and players taking the knee.

“UEFA will not take disciplinary action against the national association for their fans’ reaction to this initiative as there are no legal grounds to do so in the current competition and disciplinary regulations and to do so would be to punish a national association whose players have taken a stand against racism.”

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