Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

21.29 12 Jun 2021


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The FA has encouraged their supporters to respect players when they take the knee as they get their Euro 2020 campaign underway.

England play Croatia in their first game of the tournament at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

The FA released a statement on Saturday night asking supporters to respect the decision of the players and to ask them once again to unite in the fight against discrimination.

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The taking of the knee has been a sensitive subject in England since a number of English supporters booed their own players for doing so.

There were calls from some that sport and politics should not mix in the wake of this.

Manager Gareth Southgate though has said his players should not "stick to football" and have a "duty" to interact with the public on issues such as equality, inclusivity and racial injustice.

The English FA statement in full read;

"Tomorrow, our England senior men's team will begin their EURO 2020 campaign at our home, Wembley Stadium.

"Major tournaments don't come around often and when they do, it's an opportunity to unite friends, families and the country. This collective support is what spurs our team on during challenging moments and it gives them the best chance of succeeding.

"As the team has reiterated many times, they will collectively take the knee ahead of their fixtures during the tournament.

"They are doing this as a mechanism of peacefully protesting against discrimination, injustice, and inequality. This is personally important to the players and the values the team collectively represents.

"This gesture of unity and fighting against inequality can be traced back as far as the 18th century. It is not new, and English football has made it very clear that it does not view this as being aligned to a political organisation or ideology. There can be no doubt as to why the players are taking the knee and what it represents in a footballing context.

"We encourage those that oppose this action to reflect on the message you are sending to the players you are supporting.

"Please respect their wishes and remember that we should all be united in the fight to tackle discrimination. Together.

"They will do their best for you. Please do your best for them."


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