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WATCH: Children boo England players while they take a knee in Nations League game against Hungary

England lost Hungary 1-0 as Dominik Szoboszlai scored a penalty in the 66th minute.

Abhishek Sandikar Author

Updated - 5 June 2022 12:09 pm

English players were booed by mostly children while they were taking the knee before facing Hungary in their Nations League fixture in Budapest. The Three Lions eventually lost the game 1-0 where the hosts were forced to play the game behind closed doors because of a previous racist abuse issue from the stands.

The Union of European Football Associations had previously imposed a ban on the Puskas Arena after Hungary fans displayed similar behaviour during Euro 2020 matches hosted by the country last summer. Similarly, FIFA also issued a similar punishment after England was racially abused during their September 4-0 World Cup qualifier win.

But over 30,000 people who were mainly youngsters came to the Puskas Arena on Saturday during the England and Hungary game as UEFA rules allowed an unlimited number of U14s to attend games behind closed doors for free. The rules only required one adult to accompany every 10 children.

Both teams were respected while national anthems of the countries were played. But as the England team took the knee, boos were getting increasingly audible. However, UEFA will not reprimand Hungary for booing the act of taking a knee, as it is not against its rules.

Watch the video of this incident:

“I have no idea why people would choose to boo that gesture,” Southgate 

England coach Gareth Southgate also addressed this incident and expressed his disappointment with what had happened. He said, “How that aligns with the decision is difficult to understand. From a development perspective, I want and need the team to be playing in front of supporters. But of course, that’s not the point in this instance.” 

“So I’m torn on what we actually got from that and what the reality should have been. I think that needs some consideration without a doubt. In actual fact the atmosphere when we arrived at the stadium, there were kids lining the streets, it was really friendly,” he continued. 

“They were waving when we were walking out to warm up. I thought there were sort of pantomime boos when our team came out to warm up. That was different with the taking of a knee but that felt like inherited thinking to me. We do it to try to educate and I think young people can only be influenced by older people.”

“I have no idea why people would choose to boo that gesture and very often young people can’t know why they’re doing it so they’re being influenced by older adults – everyone knows what we believe and what we stand for. What I would say is, I hear that still in our stadiums as well. That’s why we do it and continue to take that stand and we will keep doing that as a team”, Gareth further added.


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