Finland’s national ice hockey team has released messages over social media and its website asking residents of the country not to wear the team jersey while they are attending rallies or protesting. The move comes after pictures emerged over the weekend of fans wearing the kit at anti-refugee demonstrations, where protesters were forming human walls to stop asylum seekers entering the country.
Speaking on the side’s official Twitter account, a spokesperson said, “Attention fans: Can we agree that hockey shirts belong in the stands and not at demonstrations.”
Meanwhile the politician and former player Sinuhe Wallinheimo also expressed his wishes that people should not bring the hockey team in disrepute by dragging it into the debate, adding that the national team supports the ideals of tolerance. “A reminder to Lion shirt-clad demonstrators,” he tweeted after the Tornio protest. “The Lions play fair/hard on the ice. Elsewhere they’re international and tolerant.“
The requests were largely met by positive responses from other residents of Finland who support he government’s plans to allow up to 30,000 Syrian refugees to settle in the country.