Gareth Southgate condemns fans who booed England players taking a knee

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<p>England and Austria players take the knee</p> (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

England and Austria players take the knee

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate condemned the supporters who booed players as they took a knee ahead of England’s 1-0 victory against Austria in their first Euro 2020 warm-up.

Around 7,000 fans were in attendance at Riverside Stadium for the first of England’s two warm-up games and loud jeers were audible before being drowned out by the applause of other supporters.

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It was the first time England’s players have taken the knee in front of a home crowd after Southgate held discussions with the squad in March over whether they wanted to continue making the gesture.

Southgate said he was disappointed in those responsible and reiterated that the gesture is not associated with any political movement.

“I did hear it,” Southgate said after England’s victory. “It is not something on behalf of our black players that I wanted to hear, because it feels as though it is a criticism of them,” said Southgate.

“I think we have got a situation where some people seem to think it is a political stand that they don’t agree with. That is not the reason the players are doing it. We are supporting each other.

“So, I was pleased that was drowned out by the majority of the crowd, but we can’t deny the fact that it happened.

“I think the most important thing for our players to know is that all their team-mates, all the staff, are fully supportive.

“I think the majority of people understand it. I think some people aren’t quite understanding the message, and I suppose we are seeing that across a number of football grounds at the moment.”

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