Don’t boo! FA issues last-minute appeal to fans as England players take knee vs Croatia

Gareth Southgate: England players will continue taking knee

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England’s Football Association (FA) has issued a last-minute appeal to fans, urging them to avoid booing when the players take the knee against Croatia later today. England have already revealed that they’ll be taking the knee before kick-off, as a symbol of the fight against inequality.

But, during the Three Lions’ pre-tournament friendlies against Austria and Romania, sections of the support audibly booed when players got down on one knee.

Players have been taking the knee throughout the entire Premier League season, and without any marked change to racial injustice and inequality, the symbol has been continued through to Euro 2020.

The England squad will collectively take the knee ahead of their Euro 2020 fixtures, the FA confirmed.

But with the world watching, the FA encouraged fans to “respect their wishes and remember we should all be united in the fight to tackle discrimination”.

An FA statement yesterday 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.

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“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.”

England players are growing tired of having to explain their anti-racism stance – as well as the majority of fans that rightly applaud the players taking the knee.

Gareth Southgate’s side will be hoping to start their Euro 2020 campaign with three points against Croatia, with kick-off set for 2pm.

Croatia knocked England out of the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, and the Three Lions will be hoping for revenge.

But, England have never won their opening match at the European Championships.

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