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Free Lions: Support the team, support the players

For almost 25 years now, the Free Lions team have been following England home and away providing England fans with on-the-ground support and information through our Fans’ Embassy service. They’re no strangers to the controversies surrounding the Three Lions’ support and today have issued the following comment on the pre-match booing of the England players before their fixture against Romania…

Back in October 2019, during an onslaught of racist abuse directed at every black England player from the Bulgarian crowd in Sofia, the travelling Three Lions fans supported their team.

The abuse directed at the England players that night prompted the travelling fans to step up with a spontaneous and remarkable display of solidarity.

“You racist bastards, you know what you are” rang out as England fans backed their players.

Now, just 20 months later, we have to ask where that solidarity has gone.

Those same players now have to listen to a minority of the England crowd boo the simple act of taking a knee against racism.

English football fans have a great reputation around the world for the numbers in which we travel, the passion we demonstrate in supporting our team, and our ability to party enthusiastically well into the night.

The most-dedicated fans in the world shouldn’t be booing our own players before kick-off.

We’d urge those of you booing players to have a think about your behaviour and its impact.

Think about how it affects players making a simple gesture against racism.

Think about how it affects your fellow fans in the stand who might have received racist abuse in their lives.

Think about how it affects the younger generation of fans watching their first England games on TV and wondering if this is a team they will support.

Supporting the team means supporting the players. Support the knee.

– Free Lions

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