Romania’s Nicolae Stanciu Refused To Take The Knee Vs England To ‘Show Solidarity’ With Slavia Prague Teammate Ondrej Kudela
Romania player Nicolae Stanciu says he refused to take the knee against England yesterday as he wanted to show solidarity with Ondrej Kudela, his Slavia Prague teammate who was hit with a 10-game ban for racially abusing Rangers’ Glen Kamara.
Czech Republic defender Kudela was handed the ban by UEFA for “racist behaviour” during the Europa League last 16 second leg at Ibrox.
An official investigation found him guilty of using a racial slur and his unsuccessful appeal means he is unable to play at Euro 2020 this summer.
Yesterday, his Slavia colleague Stanciu was one of two Romania players who did not kneel at the start of the friendly at the Riverside Stadium.
Asked for his reasoning, the playmaker said he felt that he did it in support of Kudela, who he feels should not have been banned “without any proof”.
“I did the same with Slavia, when I played against Arsenal in the quarterfinals of the Europa League,” Stanciu said, as per Daily Record.
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 team-mate 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.”
Ionuț Nedelcearu of AEK Athens was the other Romania player who did not take the knee. The remaining 20 players on the pitch took part in the anti-racism gesture.
On the bench for the visitors was Ianis Hagi, a member of the Rangers squad that showed support for teammate Kamara following the racist abuse he received.
For the second time in a week, the taking the knee gesture was met with boos from some England fans inside the stadium.
But Gareth Southgate, who is backing his players all the way, reaffirmed England’s commitment to the gesture throughout Euro 2020 despite the negative reaction.
Speaking in his press conference following the 1-0 win, Southgate said: “I don’t want to give it any more oxygen than I did yesterday (Saturday).
“We have answered it as much as we can. I have made it clear where the players stand with it.
“We are a united group. We are going to keep doing it.”