UEFA demand fans 'show respect' to those who take the knee
This follows crowds continuing to boo players who take the knee as a statement against racism
The response to the gesture of equality remains a dark cloud looming over the impending tournament and football as a whole, as it shows just how many misguided, latent or even just blatant racists there still are. Many have taken an issue with the knee based on political grounds and claims of Marxism rather than simply accepting the reality of it as a statement against racism.
UEFA have also confirmed that a series of messages will be displayed during England’s first game against Croatia, calling for the same respect to be shown. A source from the European football governing body reiterated that “UEFA has zero-tolerance against racism and any player who wants to demand equality among human beings by taking the knee will be allowed to do so”.
While instances of blatant discrimination such as monkey chants and racial slurs are easily punishable, it is much harder to crack down on booing given that it is not a criminal offence or hate crime, nor can it be proved as anything more than free speech.
England were unfortunately booed in both warm-up games this past week but both Gareth Southgate and Marcus Rashford have insisted they are "more determined than ever" to take the knee as they believe it is the right thing to do so.
It has also been revealed that their first opponents, Croatia, will not be taking the knee before matches - the Group D opponents have not made the gesture throughout their tournament run-up but have understandably faced criticism.