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Dublin: 19°C Tuesday 27 July 2021

"I support Remain" - former footballer John Barnes hits back at claims he's in the Leave camp

Barnes got in touch from South Africa to refute claims made by the Justice Secretary.

FORMER ENGLAND FOOTBALLER John Barnes has taken on a senior Leave campaigner who tried to claim him for one of their own – saying “I support Remain”.

During an interview with Sky News yesterday, Justice Secretary and Leave supporter, Michael Gove, listed several high-profile people who he said support a Brexit.

Gove said there were “lots of people from sport like (former England footballer) Sol Campbell and John Barnes” who support Britain leaving the EU.

EU referendum Michael Gove at a Vote Leave campaign event. Source: Dominic Lipinski

Unfortunately for Gove, Barnes is NOT a member of the Leave camp.

And the footballer was so irate, he got in touch with Sky News from South Africa, where he is working on Euro 2016 coverage, to clear matters up.

“I was very surprised when I got a text from my son saying Mr Gove said I support the Leave campaign,” Barnes said.

Barnes said he believed the misinterpretation came about after he commented last month on how it would be easier for English footballers if Britain wasn’t in the EU, as they wouldn’t have to compete with European players for club positions.

The next day, he said he received a call from the Leave campaign thanking him for his support.

cegrab-20160621-172511-735-1-736x414 Source: Sky News

“I made it categorically clear I was speaking from the point of view of English footballers it will be better off, but I don’t support the Leave campaign,” Barnes said.

“That’s a very selfish view – looking at English footballers. I have to look at what I think is right for the entire country. So I made it very clear I do not support them. I support the remain.

So I was very surprised to hear my name being called in terms of supporting the Leave campaign.

Barnes went on to outline his support for Britain remaining in the EU, saying he was “flabbergasted that Britain could be the first to jump ship when the going gets tough”.

“This is not, in my opinion, what we have been told being British is about. It’s a very selfish view,” he said.

Barnes comments come a day after former England football captain David Beckham backed a vote to remain in the EU, saying Manchester United teams he played on were improved by “a Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, the leadership of an Irishman Roy Keane and the skill of a Frenchman in Eric Cantona”.

Read: David Beckham wants to stay in the EU – what about other celebrities?

Read: ‘Nobody knows what’s going to happen’: Rival sides make final push ahead of Brexit vote

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