Gareth Southgate to speak urgently with England players about kneeling at the European Championship after negative reaction at Riverside Stadium as the FA considers using a public announcement system to urge fans to respect players’ attitudes
England players will urgently talk about whether they should go ahead with their original plan to kneel at Euro 2020 after the gesture was booed by their fans.
For nearly 12 months, Three Lions players have proudly knelt before matches in a powerful anti-discrimination message that has captured the imagination around the world.
Players intended to continue the gesture and showed their intentions by taking the knee in Wednesday’s friendly ahead of the tournament against Austria.
Gareth Southgate says England players will hold talks kneeling for international ties
The booing that followed was widely criticized, but England boss Gareth Southgate appears to have opened the door to the camp and changed his mind.
“What happened tonight probably means I need to have a conversation with the players first of all because I need to see what they think and that’s an important discussion for us,” he said.
“I know there was some concern in March that we were losing some of the impact, so I think after what happened tonight we need to consider whether we keep doing the same thing, or do something different.
“I’m sure the players will have a very good idea of that.”
Audible cheers were heard as players from England and Austria got on their knees for the friendly match
England footballers have been kneeling for nearly 12 months in support of ending racism
England won’t have a full contingent of players until Saturday night, when Chelsea and Manchester City’s teammates report for duty after last weekend’s Champions League final, meaning a final decision on whether they will kneel in their tournament. opener against Croatia will likely be postponed until next week.
But with their last friendly before the tournament against Romania on Sunday, also at the Riverside, the players currently in the squad will have to make a quick decision.
Sportsmail understands that the FA could use the public announcement system in Middlesbrough to urge fans to respect the gesture.
The FA may message fans ahead of Sunday’s friendly exhortation to respect their stance
A statement from the FA read: “English football and its players have made it clear that taking the knee is an individual choice that many participants want to make as a way of highlighting the inequality and injustice experienced by the black community.
It is not a political symbol and there can be no doubt what this gesture means in a football context.
“We will always condemn the behavior of anyone who chooses to actively oppose these values and we would encourage those who call out the gesture in this context to think about the message they are sending to the players they support. ‘