Gareth Southgate to hold urgent talks with England players over taking the knee at the Euros after negative response at the Riverside Stadium as FA consider using public announcement system to urge fans to respect players’ stance
England players will hold urgent talks about whether to continue with their original plan to take the knee at Euro 2020 after the gesture was booed by their fans.
For nearly 12 months, Three Lions players have proudly taken the knee before matches in a strong anti-discrimination message that has captured the imagination across the world.
Players planned to continue the gesture and signalled their intention by taking the knee in Wednesday’s pre-tournament friendly against Austria.
Gareth Southgate says England players will hold talks over kneeling before international ties
The boos that followed have been met with widespread criticism but England boss Gareth Southgate appears to have opened the door to the camp changing their stance.
‘What has happened tonight probably means I need to have another conversation with the players first and foremost because I need see how they feel about it and that’s an important discussion for us to have,’ he said.
‘I know there was some concern in March that we were losing some of the impact so I think after what has happened to tonight we need to consider whether we continue to do the same thing, whether we do something different.
‘I’m sure the players will have a really good view on that.’
Audible jeers were heard as England and Austria players took the knee before the friendly
England footballers have taken the knee for almost 12 months in support of ending racism
England will not have a full contingent of players until Saturday night when Chelsea and Manchester City squad members report for duty after last weekend’s Champions League final, meaning a final decision on whether they take the knee in their tournament opener against Croatia is likely to be delayed until next week.
But with their final pre-tournament friendly against Romania on Sunday, also at the Riverside, the players currently in the squad will need to make a swift decision.
Sportsmail understands the FA could use the public announcement system at Middlesbrough to urge fans to respect the gesture.
The FA may make a message to fans ahead of Sunday’s friendly urging fans to respect stance
A statement released by the FA read: ‘English football and its players have made it clear that taking the knee is an individual choice that many participants wish to make as a way of highlighting inequality and injustice experienced by the black community.
‘It is not a political symbol and there can be no doubt as to what this gesture means in a footballing context.
‘We will always condemn the behaviours of anyone that chooses to actively oppose these values and we would encourage those who boo the gesture in this context to reflect on the message they are sending to the players they are supporting.’