Taking the knee in support of Black Lives Matter is a 'beautiful' act, says former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson

Taking the knee to support Black Lives Matter is 'beautiful', says former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson

The act of taking the knee is a "beautiful" and "powerful demonstration against things which are not right in life", former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson said.

England's first Euro 2020 game will be with Croatia on Sunday, and when they come out to play, players will be taking the knee in support of the anti-racism Black Lives Matter movement. Manager Gareth Southgate is supporting the action.

Asked if he agreed with Southgate's stance and whether he would do the same thing if he was manager now, Eriksson, said on ITV's Lunchtime news: "Absolutely. It's beautiful."

Eriksson, who managed the England national team from 2001 to 2006, continued: "I think it's a very powerful demonstration against things which are not right in life, so they should go on with it.

Sven-Goran Eriksson said he supports England players taking the knee in the Euro 2020 games Credit: ITV News

"And I mean the Premier League, every game they do it and it's fantastic. And it's a message to all the world."

Eriksson's comments come after England players were once again booed by some football fans when they and most of Romania's players took the knee before Sunday's final Euro 2020 warm-up friendly.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on England fans to “get behind” the team and England manager Southgate has said the players will continue to take the knee. After supporters booed at last Wednesday's game against Austria, the England boss asked fans not to boo ahead of the friendly with Romania at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough. But they ignored Southgate's pleas.

The Euro 2020 tournament, which was delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is just days away, with the first game on Friday.

Reacting to Southgate's comments that anything less than reaching the semi-finals would be a disappointment, Eriksson said: "I think Southgate is right. I think they can reach semi-final and why not the final as well?

"You need some luck, you need no injuries on very important players of course and hopefully the England players playing so much, and recently they played in the European cup finals, that they are not too tired."

Asked about the reduced crowd capacity in stadiums, he said: "I think players and everybody wants to see a full stadium when they play football - I mean, Wembley when it's packed with people.

"But we should be happy because there are some people at least in the stadium. If it was one month ago, maybe no one could go."