Gary Lineker has described England fans who boo the Italian national anthem at the Euro 2020 final on Sunday as ‘rude, disrespectful and utterly classless’ but Gary Neville has disagreed, asking ‘is it really that bad?’.
Supporters jeered the Danish anthem in the European Championship semi-final on Wednesday, with more boos likely to occur at Wembley for the tournament showpiece.
And Lineker urged people to observe the pre-match ritual with respect rather than drowning it out with noise.
His tweet read: ‘If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket for the final, please, please don’t boo the Italian anthem.
‘A/ It’s an absolute belter and worth listening to. B/ It’s bloody rude, disrespectful and utterly classless.’
The Italian anthem Il Canto degli Italiani (The Song of the Italians), or Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) from its opening line, is a loud, lively, booming song, with the Azzurri gaining plaudits for belting it out with huge passion at Euro 2020.
Gary Lineker has urged England fans not to boo the Italian national anthem on Sunday night
Match of the Day host called supporters who did so ‘bloody rude’ but Gary Neville disagreed
But former England assistant manager – and Sky Sports and ITV pundit – Gary Neville disagreed with Lineker, questioning whether it really is as disrespectful as Lineker intimated.
Neville’s post said: ‘When I played in the different countries and our NA (national anthem) was booed I always took it as the opposition fans trying to unsettle us, drown our fans out and never as some kind of attack on us as people.
‘Same when we did it other teams. Is it really that bad and disrespectful? Incoming,’ followed by a fire and cry-laughing emoji.’
As Sportsmail reported on Thursday, England have become a more streetwise team, cottoning on to gamesmanship tactics others have used for years – with Neville feeling there is nothing wrong with booing an anthem to unsettle their opponents.
But UEFA have hit England with three disciplinary charges following the victory against Denmark, one of which was for booing the Danish anthem.
Their comments come after the Danish national anthem was booed before the semi-final
Some England supporters have also booed while players took the knee in an anti-racism move
What do UEFA’s charges against England mean?
UEFA open disciplinary proceedings where it thinks that there have been offences that break the laws of the game or their rules.
They open proceedings following official reports or when complaints have been made to them.
The proceedings are usually carried out in writing, but a formal ‘court-style’ session can be held in certain circumstances.
When UEFA make their decision relevant parties then have five days from that date to request, in writing, a decision with grounds explained.
Appeals can be lodged and punishments range from match-suspensions to warnings or fines.
The punishments that face England, if the charges are proved, are fines or warnings.
The triple-whammy allegations will be investigated by UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body and are the first time a team in this tournament has been charged over fans booing rivals anthems.
Punishments include fines of up to £8,000 and official warnings, while England has been fined £4,300 before for supporters disrupting another side’s national song.
Three Lions fans have also controversially booed the taking of the knee at times throughout the competition.
As reported by Sportsmail on Thursday, UEFA are also investigating the laser shone at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel before a crucial penalty, and fans setting off fireworks or flares during the Euro 2020 semi-final.
It is unconfirmed whether Schmeichel noticed or was affected by the laser pointer, and he saved Harry Kane’s initial spot-kick before the England captain eventually put in the rebound, the strike later proving the winning goal.
The European sports group are currently investigating the circumstances and will ask for the Danish ‘keeper’s thoughts on what happened.
Security at the stadium are understood to be looking at CCTV to identify the culprit. The FA did not respond to requests to comment.
If UEFA find evidence a criminal offence has been committed, the Metropolitan Police, whose force area covers Wembley stadium, may investigate.
A Met spokesman told MailOnline: ‘At the moment it’s being dealt with by UEFA rather than the police. It may be that if they deem it a criminal offence they would let us know and we would look at it, if appropriate.’
Former England striker Stan Collymore has led calls for the fan responsible to be banned for life.
The ex-Liverpool attacker tweeted: ‘If anyone shone a laser pen at Schmeichel, they want banning for life.’
The ex-England striker Stan Collymore led calls on social media for the fan to be banned for life