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11th Jun 2021

Boris Johnson finally tells England fans to ‘cheer, not boo’ when players take the knee

Charlie Herbert

Boris says fans should "cheer, not boo" when players take the knee"

He had previously fallen short of outright condemning those that boo.

Boris Johnson has finally made his views clear on where he stands in regards to fans booing players taking the knee before football games, telling those attending England matches at the upcoming Euros to “cheer not boo”.

Over the last couple of weeks, it seems to be all anyone can talk about: the knee. Who’s taking it, whether they should take it, people booing it, whether it represents a Marxist organisation that wants to destroy the nuclear family or whether it simply is a gesture of protest against racism (clue: it’s the second one).

The England squad had made their views clear. Gareth Southgate made his team’s views clear. But still many are unhappy. But the squad have said they aren’t going to listen to closet racists (not their words, mine) and rightly so.

In fact, one of the few people who hadn’t been clear on their views was our great and mighty leader, Boris Johnson. Until now that is.

Having previously refused to condemn those who boo taking the knee, a spokesman for Number 10 has now said that fans should “cheer not boo” at the upcoming European Championships.

The statement comes just hours after ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Johnson to publicly back the gesture. Brown said that it would be “very bad for Britain if these culture wars started to develop, where people seized on one instance of someone doing something and tried to make it a big issue that divided the public rather than united the public.”

When asked if the PM supports players taking the knee, a Number 10 spokesperson said: “Yes. The Prime Minister respects the rights of all people to peacefully protest and make their feelings known about injustices.”

The spokesperson was then asked if the PM would condemn those booing players, replying: “I think the Prime Minister has spoken before about his desire for everybody to get behind the national team.

“And the Prime Minister would like to see everybody get behind the team to cheer them on, not boo.”

The statement also comes just a day after Education Minister, Gillian Keegan, had argued that taking the knee was “divisive.”

England look set to be an exception the rule in their group by taking the knee, with Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic all saying that they would not be doing so before games. However the Scottish FA announced on Friday that the Scotland players would join the England squad in taking the knee before their clash at Wembley on 18 June.