Uefa under fire to change rules over behind-closed-doors games after England stars booed taking knee

·1-min read
Uefa under fire to change rules over behind-closed-doors games after England stars booed taking knee

UEFA are under pressure to change their rules regarding matches played behind closed doors in the wake of England players being booed taking the knee against Hungary on Saturday.

The match in Budapest was officially behind closed doors as punishment for discriminatory behaviour by Hungary fans at Euro 2020, but UEFA rules meant children up to the age of 14 could attend if accompanied by an adult.

In the end, over 30,000 fans were inside the 67,500-capacity Puskas Arena and England’s players were subjected to some boos from sections of the crowd when they took the knee before kick-off.

Anti-discrimination campaigners, such as Fare and Show Racism the Red Card, have expressed their dismay at the situation and UEFA are under pressure to make changes, potentially by limiting the number of children allowed in.

The number of children able to attend matches behind closed doors varies from country to country due to safeguarding laws.

England are hosting their own behind-closed-doors game on Saturday, when they take on Italy, and around 2,000 to 3,000 children are due to attend that fixture at Molineux.

The Hungarian Government have hit back at the criticism they have received since the weekend with Zoltan Kovacs, Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations, tweeting: “Anyone who thinks that children attending a football match in Budapest can be blamed for any kind of political statement is truly an idiot. Congratulations to our national team, applause for the 35,000 kids.”

England manager Gareth Southgate put the booing of taking the knee at the weekend down to “inherited thinking”.

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