Cheers drown out boos as England take the knee at Wembley

Cheers and applause quickly drowned out some boos as England players kneeled on Sunday in an anti-racism gesture at kick-off against Croatia in their Euro 2020 opener at Wembley.

>>Reuters
Published : 13 June 2021, 01:49 PM
Updated : 13 June 2021, 01:49 PM

England players were shocked by jeering at the gesture from a minority of fans in two friendlies prior to the tournament. Manager Gareth Southgate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and leading football figures had appealed for a stop to that.

Once again, there was some jeering from a small section as players briefly went down on one knee, but many others among the 25,000 crowd in a sun-kissed Wembley began applauding and cheering.

The gesture, borrowed from American NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and popularised by the Black Lives Matter movement last year, has generated off-field controversy around Europe in the build-up to the 24-nation Euros.

Critics view it as an unwanted politicization of sport and expression of sympathy with far-left politics.

But England players and other national teams also taking the knee say it is simply a show of solidarity against racial discrimination still prevalent in football and around the world.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher