The FA has confirmed it is investigating booing at Millwall’s game on Saturday.
A statement issued by the sport’s governing body said: “The FA can confirm that investigations are underway into crowd-related incidents at both The Den and JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday 5 December 2020.
“Observations have been sought from all of the relevant parties and they will have until Thursday 10 December 2020 to provide their respective responses.”
The statement comes after Millwall Supporters’ Club insisted booing players taking the knee on Saturday was not racist – and suggesting fans sign a charter agreeing with the Lions’ anti-discrimination work.
And they say if supporters can’t make The Den a hostile stadium without resorting to bigotry, they should stay away.
The club has been thrown into the spotlight after booing was heard as both squads took the knee before Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Derby County.
Before the game kicked off, players took the knee in a protest against discrimination of any kind – #Black Lives Matter was specifically not mentioned by any of the players, who issued a statement about their intentions.
But of the 2,000 Millwall fans who were in the stadium for the game, a large number of them could be heard booing while players made their stance.
The club issued a statement 19 hours after the event, and on Sunday afternoon the club’s official supporters’ group also addressed the issue.
“It is within our Millwall DNA to make The Den a hostile environment for the opposition players, not our own,” the MSC statement said.
“We never want that to be sanitised or taken away, as it is what makes us unique. But… if you are unable to create a hostile atmosphere at The Den without resorting to racist, homophobic or other discriminatory language or actions then you should make the decision not to attend.”
The charter says: “Behaviour which jeopardises the safety and enjoyment of others or is likely to bring disrepute to the club is not acceptable. At Millwall Football Club we will not tolerate any racial, homophobic or any other kind of discriminatory language or action used as discrimination.
“Discriminatory behaviour is anything that singles out a person or group from a particular audience, whether that’s on the grounds of disability, gender, age, sexuality, race or religious beliefs. This may be in the form of chanting, comments or shouting on the way to, or inside the football ground or by making comments on social media channels.”
The MSC is suggesting the Fans’ Charter should say: “I, the undersigned, hereby agree with the charter above and understand that if my behaviour or actions fall into the category of anti-discrimination as set out above, then there will be consequences as detailed in club’s banning orders.”
The MSC also defended the booing.
“We fervently believe that the motives of those behind the booing were not racist,” the statement said. “However, at a time of heightened awareness and with the country watching, the choice of those individuals was always going to damage their club and be perceived by the media as racist.
“The greatest thing it highlighted is the need for clarity and understanding on both sides of this divide.
“Anyone who believes it was a racist act, should read the views of those who booed and see they were doing it in reaction to the war memorials and statues of Churchill defaced by the BLM organisation and the extreme political views they hold, and for which ‘taking the knee’ is associated with.
“These same fans have never booed the Kick it Out campaigns on our pitch or the huge work of the Millwall Community Trust and its many anti-racism campaigns.
“Equally, anyone who booed in the ground yesterday should read the views of Mahlon Romeo and those of the Millwall players released on Friday. They chose to ‘take the knee’ to highlight the need for more anti-discrimination work and action, something Millwall has always been at the forefront of through our community work.
“They explicitly did not use it to support any political viewpoint or organisation and therefore the booing shows disagreement with anti-discrimination.”
The statement mentions QPR’s Director of Football, Les Ferdinand, saying that the gesture has lost its meaning.
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