Liverpool boss defends fans who booed Prince William (VIDEO)
The UK government have hit out at Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp for appearing to back fans who jeered the national anthem in advance of the kick-off of Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea at London's Wembley Stadium.
Klopp invited criticism after the match, which Liverpool won following a penalty shootout, after he defended fans who booed the anthem and the appearance of Prince William at the game by saying that fans “wouldn't boo if there was no reason.”
William, who is also the the Duke of Cambridge and the president of the Football Association, was resoundingly jeered by some sections of the support as well as reportedly being targeted with obscene hand gestures while he stood to observe the rendition of God Save the Queen.
An unexpected moment at today's #FACupFinal, where Liverpool fans booed Prince William and National Anthem. My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong, Twitter) is that it's still felt there was an establishment cover-up over the Hillsborough disaster and getting justice for it. pic.twitter.com/uFLAJEJp30— Omid Scobie (@scobie) May 14, 2022
Addressing the controversy in a media conference, Klopp backed his team's support, saying: “Of course I have thoughts but I think in these situations it's best to ask the question: why does it happen?
“They wouldn't do if there was no reason. I've not been here long enough to understand the reason for it - it's for sure something historical - and that's probably questions you can answer much better than I could ever.
“The majority of our supporters are wonderful people. Really smart, go through lows and highs. They wouldn't do it without reason.”
According to Connor O'Neill of the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool supporters have frequently booed the national anthem at Wembley due to historical opposition to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government in the 1980s.
This can be traced back to several reasons; perhaps chief of which was the UK government's perceived inaction following the Hillsborough tragedy in the FA Cup semi-final of 1989.
“Love that. They expected him to throw our fans under the bus. Great answer,” said one fan in response to Klopp's answer, via the Daily Mail.
“This man was made for this football club and its people,” said another.
However, Klopp's answer wasn't quite received so warmly in Westminster.
“I utterly condemn any fans who booed Prince William at Wembley today,” said Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle on Saturday.
“The FA Cup final should be an occasion when we come together as a country. It should not be ruined by a minority of fans' totally shameful behavior. In this year of all years – the Queen's Platinum Jubilee – this is dreadful.”
Tory member of parliament and former Culture Secretary Karen Bradley added: “It is utterly unacceptable and disgraceful that fans booed Prince William. I would urge the FA to take all necessary action and pursue those responsible.”
The Prime Minister's official spokesperson, meanwhile, described Klopp's comments as a “great shame” when probed on Monday.