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Millwall issue statement after supporters boo players for taking the knee before Championship clash with Derby County

The London club have condemned the actions of a large section of the crowd at The Den before their latest home league fixture

Millwall have issued a statement after seeing their supporters boo players for taking a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Fans were granted access to The Den for the first time in almost nine months on Saturday for the Championship clash against Derby County, with stadiums in some areas across the country now cleared to open their doors to the public again with a reduced capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Millwall lost the match 1-0 to slip down to 14th in the league standings, but the contest was overshadowed by the actions of the home crowd prior to kick-off.

Footballers have been showing their support for the global anti-racism campaign by dropping to one knee before matches since June, and both sets of players continued that trend at The Den this weekend, only to be met with a chorus of jeers from the stands.

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Rams forward Colin Kazim-Richards stood and gave a raised-fist power salute while his colleagues took the knee, and Lions supporters reacted by booing loudly until the referee blew his whistle to signal the start of the game.

Millwall have expressed their disappointment in the fans responsible while promising to do everything they can to prevent a repeat of the incident in the future.

“Millwall Football Club was dismayed and saddened by events which marred Saturday’s game against Derby County at The Den,” an official statement on the club’s website read.

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“The club has worked tirelessly in recent months to prepare for the return of supporters and what should have been a positive and exciting occasion was completely overshadowed, much to the immense disappointment and upset of those who have contributed to those efforts.

“The impact of such incidents is felt not just by the players and management, but by those who work throughout the club and in its academy and community trust, where so many staff and volunteers continue passionate endeavours to enhance Millwall’s reputation day after day, year after year. The club will not allow their fine work to be in vain.

“The players are continuing to use the biggest platform they have to support the drive for change, not just in football but in society generally.

“There is much work to be done and at Millwall everyone is committed to doing all that is possible, both individually and collectively, to be a force for good and to ensure that the club remains at the forefront of football’s anti-discrimination efforts.

“Over the coming days, club, academy and community trust staff will meet with Kick It Out and representatives from other appropriate bodies in an attempt to use Saturday’s events as a catalyst for more rapid solutions which have an impact both in the short and long-term. Further comment will be made once those meetings and discussions are concluded.”

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