Conversative MP To Boycott England Games Due To Players Taking The Knee
Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, claims the gesture of kneeling prior to kick-off supports a "political movement" and risked alienating "traditional supporters".
England players were booed by some sections of fans when they took the knee at the Riverside Stadium ahead of the friendly win over Austria on Wednesday.
In a Facebook post, Anderson wrote: "The FA and the England football team have made a big mistake in supporting the taking of the knee before football matches ahead of the European Championships.
"The FA, Premier League and footballers now run the risk of becoming like the Labour Party and that is having nothing in common with their traditional supporters.
"All forms of racism are vile and should be stamped out - but this is not the way.
"For the first time in my life I will not be watching my beloved England team whilst they are supporting a political movement whose core principles aim to undermine our very way of life."
Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw, shares the same view and slammed Gareth Southgate after the England boss said fans did not understand the message his players are trying to send.
"To suggest that fans 'aren't quite understanding the message', as Gareth Southgate has done, is an insult to their intelligence," Clarke-Smith stated.
"Fans understand perfectly well - they are just sick and tired of being preached and spoken down to.
"They are there to watch a football match, not to be lectured on morality.
"It is the football authorities and elements of the media who aren't understanding the message.
"Find something we can all support and ditch this ridiculous empty gesture."
In a press conference on Friday, Southgate confirmed the squad will continue to take the knee and ignore any adverse reaction following a team meeting.
He also called for fans to empathise with England players and imagine how they would feel if it was their children being jeered.
"We are collectively really disappointed that it happened," Southgate said in his presser, as per Sky Sports.
"You have to put yourself in the shoes of an England player about to represent his country and because we are all trying to support the move for equality, the move for supporting our team-mates... some of the experiences they have been through in their lives.
"Some people decide to boo. I think those people should put themselves in the shoes of those young players and how that must feel.
"If that was their children, if they are old enough to have children, how would they feel about their kids being in that sort of situation.
"The most important thing for our players is to know we are totally united on it, we are totally committed to supporting each other, supporting the team. We feel more than ever determined to take the knee through this tournament.
"We accept that there might be an adverse reaction and we are just going to ignore that and move forward. The players are sick of talking about the consequences of should they, shouldn't they. They have had enough really."
England take on Romania today at 5pm in their final European Champions warm-up fixture.
- Gareth Southgate confirms England players will take knee before Iran World Cup match
- Matt Le Tissier slams 'woke' Gareth Southgate after claiming he's offered to 'coach' England in the past
- England players are currently practicing penalties for the World Cup without a goalkeeper
- England path to the 2022 World Cup final: Who the Three Lions could face during the tournament