England urge fans to support players kneeling ahead of Romania clash

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England are urging fans to back players who kneel to face Romania tonight after the gesture was loudly booed for Austria’s win, with Gareth Southgate admitting his side were ‘collectively disappointed’

England have made a plea for fans to support players getting down on their knees for Sunday’s friendly against Romania in Middlesbrough.

Loud cheers greeted the anti-racism gesture ahead of Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Austria at the Riverside Stadium before it was drowned out by applause from other supporters.

The Three Lions will play at the same venue on Sunday afternoon in their final warm-up game ahead of Euro 2020 and will continue to show solidarity in the ongoing fight against racial inequality.

Manager Gareth Southgate said the team was “collectively disappointed” at the negative reaction in the midweek, the first England game to be played for fans since November 2019.

England have made a plea for fans to support their players kneeling against Romania

England have made a plea for fans to support their players kneeling against Romania

Southgate spoke at length about the matter at his pre-match press conference, and his position was subsequently backed up by a message published on England’s official Twitter account.

“Ahead of today’s game, our players will once again be on their knees as a show of solidarity with the black community, including members of our squad who are themselves regularly abused,” the tweet read.

“Please support them, just as we know you will once the game starts.”

Gareth Southgate said the team were disappointed when the gesture was booed mid-week

Gareth Southgate said the team were disappointed when the gesture was booed mid-week

Gareth Southgate said the team were disappointed when the gesture was booed mid-week

Southgate met his senior players and then the squad on Friday after the gesture was subject to ridicule from parts of the crowd.

It is believed the England and Southgate players were encouraged that the rest of the 7,000-strong crowd looked on to crush the booing with applause.

In the face of scathing criticism from players who got down on their knees, Southgate pointed to members of his group and explained on multiple occasions that the gesture did not represent some of the more extreme views of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Getting on the knees was introduced as a peaceful way to protest racial injustice by NFL superstar and activist Colin Kaepernick, along with US Special Forces veteran Nate Boyer.

Jude Bellingham and Tyrone Mings are seen taking the knee as loud whoops and whoops erupted

Jude Bellingham and Tyrone Mings are seen taking the knee as loud whoops and whoops erupted

Jude Bellingham and Tyrone Mings are seen taking the knee as loud whoops and whoops erupted

Some Conservative MPs have revealed they will no longer be watching England as they continue to carry out the gesture, but Southgate has said that while he was sorry to hear their stance, it would not affect the team’s views.

Sports post previously reported that the FA will be allowed to use the PA system at Riverside Stadium tonight to urge those in attendance to respect the taking of the knee.

However, it is likely that there will be another booing as the BLM movement in the UK has been criticized for accusations of anti-Semitism and calls to punish the police.

In the wake of the allegations, the Premier League issued a statement late last season saying it “does not support any political organization or movement, or support any group that incites violence or condones illegal activities.”

England will continue to kneel before the European Championship and stand up in the fight against inequality

England will continue to kneel before the European Championship and stand up in the fight against inequality

England will continue to kneel before the European Championship and stand up in the fight against inequality

They added: ‘We are aware of the risk of groups trying to hijack popular causes and campaigns to promote their own political views.

“These actions are totally unwelcome and rejected by the Premier League and all other professional football bodies, and they underline the importance of our sport to take a very clear stand against prejudice.”

BLM slogans were subsequently removed, although taking the knee continued for the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign.

When top football returned after the coronavirus hiatus, Premier League players wore the BLM slogans on their shirts. Their support was shown after George Floyd’s death in the United States last May.

Premier League players wore the message 'Black Lives Matter' on their jerseys last season

Premier League players wore the message 'Black Lives Matter' on their jerseys last season

Premier League players wore the message ‘Black Lives Matter’ on their jerseys last season

Ultimately, after the top flight moved away from BLM, the No Room for Racism logo was put on the shirts of all 20 clubs instead.

There are a host of Premier League players who have been named in England’s squad for Euro 2020 – where they will continue to kneel.

UEFA has strict rules on political statements but allowed England to perform the gesture during the Nations League. They are unlikely to change this position during the highly watched tournament.

England start their campaign against Croatia next Sunday at Wembley.

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