“Do not provoke the host…”
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has defended the booing of Irish players taking the knee earlier this week, claiming that the Irish players “provoked” the home fans by doing so.
The Irish players took the knee before the friendly against Hungary on Tuesday evening in an attempt to condemn racism both in the game and in the wider world.
Speaking at a press conference after the game, Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban said: “If you’re a guest in a country then understand it’s culture and do not provoke it. Do not provoke the host… We can only see this gesture system from our cultural vantage point as unintelligible, as provocation.
“The fans reacted the way those who are provoked usually react to provocation. They do not always choose the most elegant form, but we have to understand their reasons… I agree with the fans.”
Proud of this team and proud of our values ✊
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) June 8, 2021
Corkman Adam Idah, who was one of three black players to play for Ireland on the night, said that it was “disappointing”, and that he wasn’t expecting the hostile reaction from the home fans.
Idah was very clear explaining why the Irish team decided to take the knee, saying: “Obviously it’s disappointing to see the fans in the whole stadium booing us taking the knee. It’s for a good cause, trying to stop racism, it’s a sign to kick racism out of society, just the reaction was very disappointing, to be honest, we weren’t expecting that.
“We wanted to take the knee, trying to stop racism.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Kenny called it “incomprehensible” that the Irish players were booed, while Shane Duffy said that he is glad the Irish team made the decision it did.
Duffy, who was awarded the man-of-the-match award on the night said: “It’s a difficult time for everyone. We have our stances on it and we decided, as a nation, that we were going to do it and we stand by that.
“Everyone’s got their opinions but hopefully we made the right choice.”