Rio Ferdinand slams 'ignorant' England fans for booing players taking the knee

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand has slammed the ‘ignorant’ fans who are booing England players for taking the knee.

There have been boos and jeers from some home fans as England have taken a knee to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Euro 2020 warm-up games against Romania and Austria.

England will continue to take the knee at the Euros – which start on Friday – with manager Gareth Southgate insisting the team are ‘determined’ to raise awareness of racial inequality.

‘These fans, these ignorant people going to these games, they haven’t got a clue,’ former Man United and England defender Ferdinand told the FIVE YouTube channel.

‘They don’t know what the players are kneeling for. It’s not a political stance.

‘All these people saying, “BLM is a political movement” – [the knee] is nothing to do with [BLM]. So take that out of your mind.

‘The players, the manager are telling you, “This is not a political campaign, the reason why we kneel is nothing to do with politics”.

‘This stance is about racism, about people being treated the right way and respectfully, and not based on the colour of their skin.

‘There is no valid reason for booing. They’re meant to be here helping the team, pushing them along. The players’ narrative around this is nothing to do with politics so please just support this team, support these players.

‘They don’t want injustice, they don’t want people to be judged off the colour of their skin. And they’re kneeling because of that. So why are you booing?’

There are fears there will be more jeering when England take the knee throughout the European Championships but Southgate insists the team will ‘ignore it and move forward’.

England begin their Euros campaign on Sunday against Croatia.

‘We feel, more than ever, we are determined to take the knee throughout the tournament,’ Southgate said. ‘We accept there might be an adverse reaction but we’re going to ignore it and move forward.

‘We are all trying to move towards equality – and support our team-mates because of some of the experiences they’ve been through – but people decided to boo.

‘The players are sick of talking about all the consequences of should they, shouldn’t they. They’ve had enough really.

‘And as far as I’m concerned, they are not going to take any more questions on this through the tournament. If it happens, it happens.

‘Their voices have been made loud and clear. They are making their stand – but they want the focus to be on football.’

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