BOOS ring out at Champions League final as Chelsea and Man City players take a knee before kick-off (VIDEO)
The Premier League rivals are meeting in only the third ever all-English final in Europe’s biggest club game at the Estadio do Dragao in Portugal.
Chelsea are aiming for a second Champions League triumph in their history in their third appearance in the continental showpiece, while City are making a maiden appearance at this stage of the competition.
Around 16,500 spectators were allowed into the Estadio do Dragao in Porto on Saturday night, including 6,000 fans from each club.
After a season in which fans have mostly been starved of watching football in the stands due to Covid restrictions, the support was predictably raucous from both sides beforehand – but also included some uncomfortable boos for the organizers.
The first jeers were heard with the playing of the Champions League anthem, perhaps most prominently from the City fans.
They have a tepid relationship with European football governing body UEFA stemming from numerous grievances down the years, not least when the club was slapped with a two-year ban – later overturned – for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
More jeers and whistles were heard when the players and match officials customarily took a knee before the game got underway, continuing to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Section of Chelsea fans appeared to boo when players took the knee earlier. Not sure what the problem is.— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) May 29, 2021
Some online pointed the finger at the Chelsea fans as being the section from which the booing emanated.
Chelsea fans boo the taking of the knee. City fans don't. #MCFC— Stuart Brennan (@StuBrennanMEN) May 29, 2021
Glad to see enough Chelsea fans got to Portugal so they could loudly boo players taking the knee (again)— Eamonn Brennan (@eamonnbrennan) May 29, 2021
This is the reality of English society. Large sections of England not only is ambivalent towards taking a knee, but they are enraged by it. They'll boo and boo. They're "fed up" of hearing about racism. The government and media exploits this every day. Nobody can act surprised.— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) May 29, 2021
Taking a knee has become a controversial topic in English football. When fans returned to stadiums in limited numbers earlier this season, sections of the support at Championship club Millwall and elsewhere were heard jeering at the gesture.
That prompted threats of bans for supporters booing the step, although some high-profile names such as Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha – who is black – has said that the gesture is “degrading” and has done little to chance the situation with footballers receiving racist abuse online.
Some fan groups have voiced their dissatisfaction at the gesture being associated the BLM movement, which in political terms is seen as radically left-wing.Also on rt.com Police in Wales STOP anti-BLM football fans from protesting OUTSIDE stadium – as players freely continue to take a knee