UK

Sunak backs Southgate’s call for fans not to sing about German war casualties

The Prime Minister urged England football fans to sing more of Hey Jude at the Euros tournament.

Mr Sunak called for more renditions of Hey Jude
Mr Sunak called for more renditions of Hey Jude (Christopher Furlong/PA)

Rishi Sunak has backed Gareth Southgate’s call for fans not to sing about German casualties in the Second World War during the Euros, after concerns were raised about chants.

Following England’s win over Serbia on Sunday there have been reports and videos circulating of fans signing “10 German bombers”, defying warnings from German police.

Ahead of the tournament, German police had told fans thinking of singing distasteful chants about the conflict “don’t be a dick”, in an interview with The Telegraph.

The Prime Minister said supporters should instead sing more of The Beatles’ Hey Jude, in honour of England star Jude Bellingham.

Speaking from a gas rig in the North Sea, Mr Sunak said: “It’s great to see England get our Euros campaign off to a winning start, the whole country is behind them to go all the way.

Mr Suank called for more renditions of Hey Jude, in celebration of England’s Jude Bellingham
Mr Suank called for more renditions of Hey Jude, in celebration of England’s Jude Bellingham (Martin Rickett/PA)

“And when it comes to the chants specifically, I agree (with) what Gareth Southgate has said about that chant in the past, and what we want is to represent the best of our country at these tournaments.

“And that means more goals for Jude Bellingham and more singing of Hey Jude.”

Southgate has previously labelled chants referring to the First and Second World Wars “unacceptable”.

In 2017, following distasteful songs being sung at a fixture in Germany, he said: “We’ve moved on from those times and should have moved on from those times.

“They don’t represent us as a team, the people that do that, but I want to be very specific because I don’t want it to be our fans as a collective. We’re talking about individuals.”

England fans celebrated the win at the Trabrennbahn Gelsenkirchen racecourse fan park
England fans celebrated the win at the Trabrennbahn Gelsenkirchen racecourse fan park (Bradley Collyer/PA)

On Monday, an England fans’ group called for an “urgent and thorough review” of transport arrangements in Gelsenkirchen after chaotic scenes before and after Sunday night’s Euro 2024 match against Serbia, which England won 1-0.

England will play their last-16 match in the same city on June 30 if they top their group, and the Free Lions Fan Embassy group said “dramatically enhanced provisions” would need to be put in place.

The group reported issues with transport from fan zones and the city centre to the stadium, and from the stadium back to the city afterwards.

The statement read: “We are dismayed at what fans have had to go through at yesterday’s game in Gelsenkirchen.

“To see fans stranded in Gelsenkirchen Hauptbahnhof three hours after the game has finished due to transport problems at a major tournament is quite simply ridiculous.”