Republic of Ireland players provoked fans by taking a knee - Hungarian prime minister Orban

The Republic's players take a knee before Tuesday's game in Budapest
All the Republic's players took a knee before Tuesday's game in Budapest

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has defended fans who booed the Republic of Ireland players for taking a knee before Tuesday's pre-Euro 2020 friendly in Budapest.

Republic manager Stephen Kenny described the booing before the goalless draw as "incomprehensible".

However, Orban said: "If you are a guest in a country, then understand its culture and don't provoke the locals."

Hungary will host group stage and last-16 matches at Euro 2020 this month.

Sections of the 7,000-strong crowd at the Szusza Ferenc Stadium booed the Republic of Ireland players, who took a knee before kick-off to highlight racial injustice, as the Hungarian players stood and pointed to the 'respect' logo on their sleeves.

Kenny, whose squad contained four black players - Adam Idah, Gavin Bazunu, Chiedozie Ogbene and Andrew Omobamidele - said the booing "doesn't reflect well on Hungary and the Hungarian support" on the eve of the Euro 2020 finals.

Ogbene, who became the first African-born player to represent the Republic when he made his debut in Budapest, had also called on Uefa to take action.

However Hungarian PM Orban said he "agreed" with the supporters who booed and that kneeling in protest "has no place on a sports field".

"We can't interpret this gesture in any other way, looking at it from our cultural point of view it's an incomprehensible thing, a provocation," he added.

"The fans reacted as fans generally do if they are provoked, they don't always choose the most elegant way to do it but you have to understand the cause."

Hungary play holders Portugal on 15 June and world champions France on 19 June at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, which is the only one of the 11 Euro 2020 stadia not to limit fan numbers, before taking on Germany in their final Group F match on 23 June in Munich.

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