Thursday, July 7, 2022

English players will take a knee at the Euro Cup, despite fans cheering

By Associated Press

LONDON: English players will take a knee at the European Championship, although they are afraid of an adverse reaction after the anti-racist gesture was shouted out by their own fans ahead of the warm-up match against Austria.

Fans have been excluded from England’s matches since 2019 until the 1-0 victory over Austria in Middlesbrough, where the gesture before the match was satisfied by loud rumbles that were quickly drowned out to the applause of others.

England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who was on the bench for Wednesday’s game, said he was left “confused and disappointed” by the chase.

“I think I was just happy that the evil was canceled in the end, but I think it’s not a good situation, especially not for our players,” said Phillips, who is Black. “The team talked about it together and we came to the conclusion that no matter what was going on, we were still going to participate in the kneeling, and I think that’s a great idea.”

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The last warm-up match before Euro 2020 – against Romania on Sunday – will also be played in the north-eastern city of Middlesbrough.

“Essentially, people keep their own team out,” England manager Gareth Southgate said on Saturday. “I do not really understand it. If you do not agree with the situation, you may not have to cheer or do nothing.

‘But booing my own team is a very strange reaction in my mind. I wanted to establish that the players wanted to continue. I think there is an acceptance that this gesture, if you will, diminishes in its impact because we have been going on for a season now. ‘

Southgate said he thinks of his players and their travels when he takes the knee.

“I think those people (who boo) should put themselves in the shoes of those young players and how it should feel,” he said. ‘If it was their children, or they were old enough to have children, how would they feel that their children were in a kind of situation? The most important thing for our players is to know that we are completely united in it. We are absolutely committed to supporting each other and supporting the team.

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‘We are more determined than ever to take the knee through this tournament. We accept that there may be an adverse reaction and we are just going to ignore it and move forward. “

Southgate said there is likely to be a more effective way to stand up against inequality.

“We feel it would be wrong and would bend to outside pressure and we do not think it is appropriate,” he said. “We are united in that as a complete team.”

Players began kneeling last year as part of calls to eradicate racial injustice in society following the assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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Nation World News Desk
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