Hungary fans booed Irish players who knelt on the ground before their game in Budapest.
Ireland manager Stephen Kenny said he found it “incomprehensible” that home fans in the Szusza Ferenc Stadion booed Irish players who ‘took a knee” before their goalless draw with Hungary.
The Republic of Ireland's players were booed and jeered by some Hungary fans as they took a knee before kick-off in their friendly in Budapest. pic.twitter.com/15npHfKZcE
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) June 8, 2021
A host city for Euro 2020, whistles, boos and jeers rang around the Budapest pitch, causing Kenny to speculate that the reaction will be “damaging” for the country ahead of hosting the tournament.
“The fact it was booed is incomprehensible really, and it must be damaging for Hungary, with the Euros in Hungary.
“It’s disappointing and it doesn’t reflect well on Hungary really, on Hungarian support. It doesn’t reflect well.
“Our players wanted to do it. It’s important. It’s an important stance and I commend them for taking that stance.
“I think it was the right decision. I approached (the FAI’s operations manager) Barry Gleeson and said it was something we wanted to do, take the knee, and I think it’s a very important message.”
The incident comes just days after English fans booed their own players for taking a knee in Middlesborough before their match with Romania.
Norwich and Ireland striker Adam Idah said he was “disappointed” by the reaction of home fans in Budapest.
“It’s for a good cause, trying to stop racism. It’s a sign to kick racism out of society and the reaction was very disappointing to be honest. We weren’t expecting that.”
Hungarian players stood and pointed to a “Respect” badge on their jersey as Irish players knelt, with their manager, Marco Rossi, insisting his side always gives everyone the “utmost respect”.
“This has been the case tonight and will not change in the future,” Rossi said.
“However, we need to ask them about the reasons for our fans’ behaviour.”
Nigel Farage has been among the most prominent British politicians to comment on booing ‘the knee’ at matches, insisting some fans’ reaction was against “the Marxist ‘Black Lives Matter'” organisation.
Gareth Southgate is out of touch with England fans.
They have a right to boo when players take the knee for Marxist BLM.
Let's keep politics out of football this summer. pic.twitter.com/7kISwKITKe
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) June 6, 2021
Speaking after last night’s match, Ireland manager Stephen Kenny said he was otherwise happy with his team’s performance and result.
“It was a tough game. We knew that Hungary had won their Nations League group, we were aware they had qualified for the Euros, beating Iceland,” Kenny told reporters.
“This was a big game for them, going to the Euros, ground packed, so it was always going to be a difficult game. Our players were excellent overall. Their commitment and sense of team was very evident.”
🗣"I was quite disappointed."
Republic of Ireland players including Chiedozie Ogbene, Adam Idah & Shane Duffy react to Hungary fans booing the taking of the knee pic.twitter.com/l4SiI0CAfY
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 9, 2021