Romania midfielder Nicolae Stanciu says he chose not to take the knee prior to yesterday’s friendly against England because he wanted to show support to Slavia Prague teammate Ondrej Kudela.
Kudela was banned from all competitions by UEFA for 10 games, after being found guilty of using a racial slur against Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara.
The ban extends into Euro 2020, meaning Kudela – who is a Czech Republic international – will miss the tournament.
Kudela’s appeal against his ban was dismissed by UEFA last month.
Prior to the England friendly, Stanciu was one of two Romanian players who didn’t take the knee.
After the game, he claimed that his Slavia team-mate was banned “without any proof”.
Stanciu said (via Daily Record): “I did the same with Slavia when I played against Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
“It seems normal to me, and I decided to make the gesture for my colleague from Slavia, for Kudela, who without any proof was suspended for 10 matches after the game against Rangers.
“Just like that because a teammate of Kamara’s heard that word that I can’t say. I decided not to take the knee and I don’t think that’s the solution.”
The other players were booed by sections of the crowd at the Riverside Stadium as they took the knee, with the same occurring prior to England’s friendly against Austria on Wednesday.
Southgate vows that England will continue to take the knee
England manager Gareth Southgate said on Friday that his side would take the knee throughout the Euros.
He explained: “We feel more than ever that we are determined to take the knee throughout this tournament.
“We accept that there might be an adverse reaction but we’re going to ignore that and move forward.
“I think those players should put themselves in the shoes of those young players and how they must feel. If that was their children – if they’re old enough to have children – how would they feel about their kids being in that situation?
“The most important thing for our players is for them to know we are totally united to it.”
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