Millwall fans applaud anti-racist banner

Millwall supporters had rejected criticism that their booing of the knee gesture, associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, was racist in nature, saying it was a protest against that group's political stance.

Millwall and Queens Park Rangers

Players of Millwall and Queens Park Rangers pose with a banner against inequality prior to a Championship match at The Den on Tuesday in London.   -  Getty Images

Millwall fans, heavily criticised for booing their players who 'took the knee' on Saturday, applauded as their team and visitor Queens Park Rangers stood by an anti-racist banner in their Championship match on Tuesday.

Millwall supporters had rejected criticism that their booing of the knee gesture, associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, was racist in nature, saying it was a protest against that group's political stance.

The home players at The Den, stood together with their opponents before Tuesday's game holding a banner stating 'Equality - United for Change' and received a warm welcome from the 2,000 fans permitted inside the ground.

Before kickoff, the referee and the QPR players took the knee but Millwall players did not, standing through the brief gesture.

Some supporters applauded and there was no audible dissent.

In a statement posted on their respective websites on Monday, QPR and Millwall said that the joint raising of the banner was "to show their collective commitment towards ongoing efforts to rid the game of racism in a positive move".

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Millwall had asked its fans to respect the QPR players taking a knee, insisting that anybody found guilty of racial abuse will be banned for life.

The home side wore the logo of the anti-racist football campaign group 'Kick It Out' in place of its regular shirt sponsor for the London derby.

Millwall's home game against Derby County on Saturday, one of the first to see a return of supporters to stadiums since Britain's COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in March, was marred by loud booing from 2,000 fans as the players knelt.

QPR's players had stopped kneeling after director of football Les Ferdinand said the action had become a PR stunt but manager Mark Warburton said it was important to show solidarity in the wake of the incident.

Fans of Millwall were condemned by the Football Association who launched an investigation into the incident at the Derby game.

Tuesday's game finished 1-1 after Ilias Chair fired QPR in front with a superb strike before Millwall levelled through Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

After the QPR goal, scorer Chair and team mate Bright Osayi-Samuel took a knee in front of the stands and raised their fists.