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The Hungarian national football team won’t kneel before kick-offs during the upcoming EURO 2020, Hungary’s Football Association (MLSZ) announced in a statement.

According to MLSZ’s explanation: “Core values ​​of the sport are equal opportunities, respect for teammates and the opponent. Football could become the most popular sport in the world because it belongs to everyone. The Hungarian national team not only follows international rules and norms in all cases, but also pays respect to everyone – be it an opponent, a fan or anyone else.”

MLSZ’s statement further highlights its “A gyűlölet nem pálya” (“Racism is not a field of play”) campaign, in practice for years now, additionally recalling that UEFA and FIFA rules don’t allow any kind of politics on the field or in the stadium, “which MLSZ not only accepts but also agrees with.”

It was American football (NFL) player, Colin Kaepernick, who started kneeling during the national anthem back in 2016, in protest of police violence against African-Americans in the US. The action gained new momentum last year after the death of George Floyd, alongside the strengthening of the Black Lives Matter movement. In English football, for example, it has since become something of a common routine, although not practiced by everyone. And FA has recently announced that the English would continue to do so at the European Championships too, despite some criticism and booing coming from the stands lately.

Coming back to football, after Friday’s close win against Cyprus (1-0), the national team today receives Ireland (8 pm, Ferenc Szusza Stadium) in its second and last warm-up friendly before the kick-off of the EURO.

One Week Until EURO Kick-off: What Are Hungary's Chances in the Toughest Group?
One Week Until EURO Kick-off: What Are Hungary's Chances in the Toughest Group?

The president of the Hungarian Football Federation is optimistic, as he believes Hungary has a stronger squad than in 2016 when they finished first in their group ahead of Portugal.Continue reading

featured image: the team before Friday’s game against Cyprus; via Tamás Kovács/MTI