“This kneeling business. I don’t think this has any place on the pitch. Sport is about other things” said Orban, who also insisted that Hungarian athletes should “fight standing up”.
Controversy has raged in Britain for days now over the public response to the virtue signalling gesture carried out by millionaire football stars, with England manager Gareth Southgate imperiously saying he would “ignore” the clearly expressed opposition of many dedicated England fans when they booed from the stands.
Orban expressed frustration over American-style race politics being imported into international sporting events taking place in central Europe, where there is no significant legacy of slavery.
“If you’re a guest in a country then understand its culture and do not provoke it. Do not provoke the host… We can only see this gesture system from our cultural vantage point as unintelligible, as provocation” he said.
“The fans reacted the way those who are provoked usually react to provocation. They do not always choose the most elegant form but we have to understand their reasons… I agree with the fans.”
Orban’s powerful intervention comes amid ongoing arguments about the gesture, which was popularised last summer by the radical left-wing Black Lives Matter movement.
Legendary England star John Barnes has chimed in, suggesting that the divisive gesture does nothing to solve the real issues facing the black working class in Britain, and the Scottish national team have already confirmed that they will not be kneeling down before games.
Brexit icon Nigel Farage has been bold in his criticism of the gesture, saying recently: “In the last two games including tonight against Romania, as they take the knee before the game, the fans are booing. Is that because they are insulting the black members of the team? No, not a bit of it.
“It’s because the great British public have sussed it, they’ve woken up to the fact that taking the knee to the Black Lives Matter organisation isn’t about equality of opportunity, isn’t about racial justice. It’s about a Marxist organisation that wants to defund the police force, that wants to bring down Western capitalism, bring down our whole way of life and replace it with a new Communist order.”