Before the game between the national teams of Russia and Belgium in St. Petersburg, fans booed the Belgian footballers kneeling in support of the BLM movement. Non of the Russian national team players was seen kneeling before the starting whistle.
When the teams came to the field, the members of the Belgian national team knelt in support of an already established tradition in the West. The fans responded with a hum and whistle. The Russian footballers remained standing as it was planned.
The UEFA press service reacted to the booing of the Belgian national team players.
“Any player or official can kneel before the match. We urge spectators to show respect for football players that kneel. As an organization, we have a zero-tolerance policy for racism,” the UEFA press office said.
However, UEFA will not punish Russian Football Union or the fans for the boos and whistling.
Some teams participating in the Euro championship have already refused to kneel. Thus, the captain of the Croatian national team Luka Modric said:
“Our position is that we will not kneel. There is no particular reason for this decision. We just discussed it within the team and decided not to kneel, but that does not mean that we support racism or discrimination in football. Naturally, we do not support these phenomena, but we do not believe that such a gesture helps to resolve the issue. There are many other ways to combat racism,” said Luka Modric.