Tory MP to boycott England games over anti-racist protest

Conservative MP threatens to boycott England football unless players stop 'taking the knee'
2 min read
06 June, 2021
England manager Gareth Southgate has vowed players will continue to take the knee before games in response to the uproar.
England players took the knee before a match against Austria on Wednesday [Getty]

A Conservative politician has said he will boycott England's games in the Euro 2020 championship over players' decision to take the knee before matches.

England players were "even more determined" after a loud minority of supporters jeered them in Middleborough when they took the knee before Wednesday's game against Austria.

The anti-racist gesture risks "traditional supporters", Lee Anderson said on Saturday.

Taking the knee was tantamount to support for "a political movement whose core principles aim to undermine our very way of life", the Conservative MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire alleged.

Andrew Bridgen, the Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, also slammed the anti-racist gesture, alleging that the move was a "divisive" symbol.

In Brief

"England footballers are encouraged to take the knee, the symbol of the divisive & Marxist BLM group, but not allowed to display poppies on their shirts in support of our veterans and those serving in our armed forces, and they wonder why the crowd voiced their protestations," Bridgen said in a tweet.

England manager Gareth Southgate has vowed players will continue to take the knee before games in response to the uproar.

"We’re all trying to move towards equality and support our own teammates because of some of the experiences they’ve been through in their lives, but people decided to boo," Southgate said. He added that he thought fans had not understood the message behind the gesture.

"We accept that there might be an adverse reaction but we're going to ignore that and move forward," he said.

"The players are sick of talking about the consequences of should they, shouldn't they. They've had enough really, and as far as I'm concerned they're not going to take more questions on this through the tournament. If it happens, it happens," he added.

“The fact that we are going to keep going is impactful. But how many times have we sat here over the past two years discussing these things? I must never be tired of doing that because I don't have the right to be tired of doing it.

"I haven't lived the life my players have or experienced the things they have. It saddens me that they are so hardened to it that they’re almost dismissive. That’s something that, in our country, we should all reflect on."