London (AFP) – The Football Association announced on Monday that it is investigating following the booing of players taking a knee at two English Football League games at the weekend.
A number of fans at the match in the second-tier Championship between Millwall and Derby and at Colchester’s League Two home clash with Grimsby booed the players’ anti-racism gesture before kick-off.
“The FA can confirm that investigations are under way into crowd-related incidents at both The Den and JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday 5 December 2020,” English football’s governing body said in a statement.
“Observations have been sought from all of the relevant parties and they will have until Thursday 10 December 2020 to provide their respective responses.”
The booing from Millwall fans led interim Derby boss Wayne Rooney to condemn their “disgraceful and mindless behaviour”.
And Colchester owner Robbie Cowling, whose side play in the fourth tier, has told supporters who want to boo players taking a knee they are not welcome at the club.
“Those taking the knee, and supporting the taking of the knee, not only show their willingness to support the drive to eradicate racial oppression but force it to be a talking point even when it’s uncomfortable,” he said.
The Professional Footballers’ Association described the booing as “a sad indictment of the lack of understanding and empathy for the players’ fight against racism and discrimination”.
It urged Millwall to “act swiftly to identify the section of the crowd who booed the players”.
Watford captain Troy Deeney told Talksport radio that the Hornets would ignore any booing of taking a knee at Millwall when they visit the Den on December 29, but admitted his players would walk off if subjected to any racist abuse.
Asked what Watford would do if Millwall fans booed taking a knee, Deeney said: “When they boo? I’ll still be there.
“But if we get to that line of racial things being said to me or my players, we’ve already had a conversation about what will happen. We walk. Simple. We’re not here to be racially abused. We’re here to play football and entertain.”
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