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18 Dec, 2020 15:55

English clubs ESCAPE sanction after fans boo players taking a knee but FA warns of investigation if incidents repeated

English clubs ESCAPE sanction after fans boo players taking a knee but FA warns of investigation if incidents repeated

The English Football Association has announced it will not be taking disciplinary action against Millwall and Colchester after sections of the clubs’ support booed players taking a knee earlier this season.

“We have conducted full and thorough investigations into the crowd-related incidents that took place at both The Den [Millwall] and JobServe Community Stadium [Colchester] on Saturday 5 December 2020,” an FA statement read on Friday.

“Having carefully considered these matters, including the observations from all relevant parties, we can confirm that no formal disciplinary action will be taken against the clubs concerned on this occasion.

“However, we would like to further clarify that anyone who chooses to take the knee will continue to receive our support as they highlight the inequality and injustice experienced by the Black community."

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The statement added: “To be clear, we do not see taking the knee as a political symbol, and would contend that there can now be no doubt as to what the gesture means in a footballing context. Therefore, going forward, we will continue to monitor and investigate should similar crowd-related incidents occur.

“We continue to support all players and clubs that wish to take a stand against any form of discrimination, and will always condemn the behaviors of anyone that chooses to actively oppose these values.”

A section of the support at South London club Millwall booed the pre-match gesture during their Championship game against Derby County earlier in December, which was the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown that a limited number of fans had been allowed into the stadium to watch their team play.

A number of Colchester fans were similarly heard jeering when players took the knee before their League Two game against Grimsby.

That prompted Colchester owner Robbie Cowling to offer any fans booing the gesture a refund on their season tickets so that they would stay away from matches.

Earlier this week, fellow League Two club Exeter City ejected a fan from their home stadium after jeering was heard when players took a knee before kick-off in their game against Harrogate Town.

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The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has revealed that players in England “overwhelmingly support” continuing with the gesture, despite anger from some fans that it is inextricably linked with the Black Lives Matter movement – which has been accused of promoting radical left-wing political causes, as well as causing destruction during numerous protests in the summer.   

"Players overwhelmingly support continuing this act of solidarity despite any adverse responses that may be received," the PFA said.

The move not to sanction Millwall and Colchester for their fans’ behavior was welcomed by some online, who said that throwing the book at the two clubs would have been a restriction of free speech and fans’ right to protest.

Millwall fans later clapped as players from Queens Park Rangers took a knee before their Championship game at the Den, although home players opted to stand.

The two teams also staged an equality protest prior to the match.

Also on rt.com ‘Bottled it’: Football club accused of appeasing racists after ditching Black Lives Matter kneeling in favor of stars linking arms