England midfielder, Jordan Henderson stated that spectators booing players for kneeling before games demonstrated that racism is still a problem, and that the squad will continue to take a position throughout the European Championship.
When England players took the knee before their friendly triumphs over Austria and Romania last weekend, a tiny portion of the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough booed.
“It demonstrates that if there are still people booing because we are standing together against racism, then there is still an issue, and we have to fight it and stand together,” Henderson said before of Sunday’s opening against Croatia.
“From our perspective, it is about sticking together and doing what we believe is right.” Coach Gareth Southgate stated in an open letter to supporters on Wednesday that his squad will not “just stick to football” during the Euros and that it is his obligation to bring up issues such as racial awareness.
England, a World Cup semi-finalist in 2018, will play Scotland on June 18 and the Czech Republic four days later after playing Croatia, both at Wembley Stadium. Before Hungary’s 0-0 tie with Ireland on Tuesday, a similar occurrence occurred.
Ireland coach, Stephen Kenny slammed the supporters who booed his players for kneeling before the game in Budapest as “incomprehensible.”
While Ireland’s players took a knee, Hungary stood and pointed to their sleeves, which had the ‘respect’ logo of European soccer’s governing body, UEFA. “The fact that it was booed is very inexplicable, and it must be bad for Hungary, with the Euros in Hungary,” Kenny remarked.
Before the game, the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) stated that its players would not take a knee to condemn any kind of hatred, but would instead find alternative methods.