Boris Johnson has refused to condemn England fans for booing players taking a knee in support of the fight against racism.
A section of England supporters have decided to boo players taking the anti-racism stance before friendlies against Austria and Romania.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate was bemused by booing and hit out at supporters who oppose players taking the knee.
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Downing Street was asked to comment on the ongoing tension between players and supporters and an official spokesperson said the Prime Minister wanted fans to get behind the team ahead of the European Championships.
“The Prime Minister supports individual's right to protest," a spokesperson said.
Mr Johnson fully respects the rights of the people in this country to peacefully protest and make their feelings known about injustices.
Asked to explain if that statement meant the Prime Minister was refusing to criticise fans, the spokesperson said: “No, the Prime Minister is supporting the England football team and he wants them to succeed.
“He wants the whole country to get behind them in that endeavour in this tournament.”
Southgate was confused by the attitude of some England fans and spoke at length about a lack of understanding after England’s win over Austria.
Southgate condemns fans who booed England players taking a knee
“It's not something on behalf of our black players that I wanted to hear because it feels as though it is a criticism of them,” said Southgate after saying he heard the boos.
“I think we have got a situation where some people seem to think it’s a political stand that they don’t agree with.
“That’s not the reason the players are doing it. We’re supporting each other.
“I was pleased that was drowned out by the majority of the crowd but we can't deny the fact that it happened.
“I think the most important thing for our players to know is that all their team-mates, all the staff are fully supportive.
I think the majority of people understand it. I think some people aren’t quite understanding the message.
“I suppose we’re seeing that across a number of football grounds at the moment.”
England will play much of the tournament in front of home fans with Wembley one of the few stadiums in Europe entrusted with games amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Six games including the final and all of England’s group matches will be played at Wembley, with the Three Lions taking on Croatia in their opener.
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