The Irish coach considered the boos from the stands “incomprehensible” in the friendly in Budapest
Hungary, one of the venues of the European Championship, announced that its players will not kneel because they consider the gesture as a “political protest”
Ireland coach Stephen Kelly, and some of his players, have shown their discomfort for the boo that the team suffered when they knelt in a gesture against the racism before the start of last night’s friendly against Hungary on Budapest.
Kelly called it “incomprehensible” that his team was booed and considered that this may convey a negative image of Hungary, one of the hosts of Euro 2020.
The Republic of Ireland players were booed and booed by some Hungarian fans as they knelt before the start of the friendly in Budapest. pic.twitter.com/15npHfKZcE
– Soccer Sky Sports (@SkyFootball) June 8, 2021
While the Irish knelt before the opening whistle in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Hungarians remained on their feet and pointed to the UEFA patch on shirts that says “respect”.
An important part of the 10,000 fans who attended the friendly that ended 0-0 in Budapest whistled the Irish gesture.
“We have conveyed a very important message by kneeling. It may hurt Hungary that they were booed like this before the Euro, but that does not reflect the opinion of Hungarian society,” added the Irish coach.
The England team was booed last Sunday by a part of their own fans when they knelt before the friendly against Romania in Middlesbrough, while a larger sector responded with applause.
The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) announced yesterday that its players will not kneel before the start of the matches as a gesture against racism as it considers it a political protest.
Less is more! Well done Hungary. pic.twitter.com/WxzYcHNRJM
– Lionheart #LawAndOrder (@ LoyalDefender2K) June 9, 2021
Hungary’s coach, Italian Marco Rossi, stressed after the game that the national team “always expresses its respect in every possible way and it will be the same at the Euro.” Some Hungarian players pointed to the word Respect stitched on their sleeves as the boo went on.
Hungary will play in the Eurocup in group “F” that it shares with Germany, France and Portugal.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.