Most Welsh football fans support players taking the knee before matches
A majority of Welsh football fans support players and staff taking the knee before matches, according to a new poll.
A YouGov survey of attitudes of supporters across Europe towards the symbolic gesture in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, found 53% of Welsh fans to be in favour and 37% opposed, while 10% didn’t know.
This compares to 54% in favour, 39% opposed, and 7% who did not know in England.
Opposition in the UK is higher among Scottish fans, with 42% opposed, compared to 49% in favour.
England manager Gareth Southgate recently criticised spectators who booed his team for taking the knee ahead of their friendly match against Romania in the build up to the 2020 Euros.
Speaking after the incident, he said: “It’s not something on behalf of our black players that I wanted to hear because it feels as though it is a criticism of them.
“I think we have got a situation where some people think it’s a political stand that they don’t agree with – that’s not the reason the players are doing it, we are supporting each other.
“I think the most important thing for our players to know is that all their team-mates and all the staff are fully supportive.
“I think the majority of people understand it. I think some people aren’t quite understanding the message and I suppose we are seeing that across a number of football grounds at the moment.”
However, Boris Johnson has refused to condemn the booing by fans.
A spokesperson for the UK Prime Minister said that he “fully respects the right of those who choose to peacefully protest and make their feelings known.”
The spokesperson added: “On taking the knee, specifically, the prime minister is more focused on action rather than gestures. We have taken action with things like the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities and that’s what he’s focused on delivering.”
The gesture was first used in the American NFL by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 as a protest during the American national anthem.
It has been widely adopted as a symbol of protest against racial inequality in June last year following the death of George Floyd at the hands of American police. Alongside its use in sport, politicians, protesters, and police alike have taken a knee across the world to demonstrate a commitment to racial equality.
Fans in Portugal are the most supportive of players taking the knee at 79%, with only 15% opposed.
Among Ethnic Minority British fans support is similar, at 78%, and this includes 58% who “strongly support” the gesture, which is the highest of all groups polled.
Support for the gesture is also very strong in Italy, where 73% are in favour, and 19% are against, and in Spain, where 71% are in favour and 22% are against.