Budapest, Jun 9 (EFE).- Republic of Ireland head coach Stephen Kenny has criticized Hungary fans who booed his team as they took a knee ahead of Tuesday’s goalless friendly in Budapest.
Kenny called the incident “incomprehensible,” saying it might convey an unfavorable image about Hungary, whose capital Budapest was chosen to be one of the host cities of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament.
A significant number of fans out of the 10,000 Hungarians attending the match, booed Ireland players as they took the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, while Hungary players maintained their posture and pointed to the UEFA badges on their jerseys reading “Respect.”
“It does not reflect well on Hungary really or Hungarian support,” said the manager of Ireland, which will not feature at the Euros.
In a similar incident, England’s national soccer team was booed as well on Sunday in Middlesbrough before the start of their 1-0 friendly home victory against Romania; however, a larger sector of the spectators countered the booing with applause.
The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) announced Tuesday that its players would not kneel before their matches as it considers the anti-racism gesture to be a form of political protest.
Hungary’s coach, Italian Marco Rossi, stressed after the game that the national team shows respect in every possible way and it would continue to do so at the Euros.
Hungary is taking part in the European Championships in Group F, which also includes Germany, France, and Portugal.