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The Irish football team expressed its shock and frustration after its players were booed and whistled at by Hungarian fans for taking the knee at the beginning of their match against Hungary on Tuesday. 

Ireland knew that the Hungarian team had decided not to kneel before its games in the UEFA European Football Championship, but when the Irish players did so, they were met with booing and whistling from many of the Hungarian fans present.

Following the friendly match, which took place in the Szusza Ferenc Stadium in Budapest and ended with neither side scoring, Stephen Kenny, the team’s manager, told the Irish Times that “the fact that it was booed is incomprehensible really. It must be damaging for Hungary with the Euros.”

Now Hungarian fans face accusations of racism. Forward for the Irish team, Adam Idah, who was born to a Nigerian father and Irish mother, said that “obviously it is disappointing to see the fans in the whole stadium booing us taking the knee. This sport is trying to stop racism and it is a sign to kick racism out of society.”

While many fans were showing disrespect, Hungary’s team captain Ádám Szalai and other Hungarian players appeared to be pointing at the “respect” badge on their jerseys, showing solidarity with their opponents.

Photo by Tibor Illyés/MTI

The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) announced prior to the European Football Championship that the Hungarian football team will not be kneeling like many other national soccer teams said they would.

Hungary's National Team Won't Kneel at Upcoming EURO
Hungary's National Team Won't Kneel at Upcoming EURO

The Hungarian Football Association said that UEFA and FIFA rules don't allow any kind of politics on the field or in the stadium.Continue reading

While the act of kneeling is considered a sign of solidarity against racism, MLSZ considers it to be politicized due to its relation to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Featured photo by Tibor Illyés/MTI