By Spy Correspondent
England: Liverpool players took a knee around the Centre circle at Anfield stadium as they returned on training and requested for the picture, featuring 29 Reds players, later posted with the caption “Unity is strength. #BlackLivesMatter” as a message of support, following the death of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Anfield is a football stadium in Anfield, Liverpool, Merseyside, England, which has a seating capacity of 54,074, making it the seventh largest football stadium in England. It has been the home of Liverpool F.C. since their formation in 1892.
Numerous Liverpool players tweeted the picture of themselves kneeling at the stadium, including defenders Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, and midfielders Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner.
These players join Manchester Unite’s Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford who added their voices to worldwide protests against racism.
The four players are being investigated by the German Football Association (DFB) for breaching rules over making political statements on the field of play though DFB president Fritz Keller said he felt “respect and understanding” for the them.
He added that he has great respect for players who have an attitude and show their solidarity. Adding that he wishes for such mature players and he is proud of them. “Morally, I can absolutely understand the actions. What happened in the USA can leave anyone cold” he said.
“When people are discriminated against because of the colour of their skin, this is intolerable. If they die because of their skin colour, then I am deeply shocked. The victims of racism need solidarity from us all” he concluded.
In relation to the investigation, DFB vice-president Rainer Koch said: “The rule is the immediate phase of the game should be kept free of political statements. It remains to be seen whether sanctions are necessary in the cases.”
However Federation of International Football Association has urged competition organisers to use “common sense” when considering whether to punish players for protesting against the death of George Floyd during matches.
Protests have been held after Floyd, an unarmed black man, died on 25 May after being restrained by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes to pin him down.
Former San Francisco 49 Yrs quarterback Colin Kaepernick first protested against racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling down during the American national anthem in the summer of 2016. That gesture has since become symbolic to the Black Lives Matter movement.
More prayers have come out to show their grievance on floyd’s death including United midfielder Pogba who said in a passionate Instagram post that he felt “felt anger, pity, hatred, indignation, pain and sadness”.
The French World Cup winner added: “Sadness for George and for all black people who suffer from racism EVERY DAY! Whether in football, at work, at school, ANYWHERE! This has to stop, once and for all. Not tomorrow or the next day, it has to end TODAY!
“Violent acts of racism can no longer be tolerated. I can’t tolerate, I won’t tolerate, WE WON’T TOLERATE. He added “Racism is ignorance, LOVE is intelligence, STOP the silence, STOP racism.”.
In Germany, Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi of Borussia Dortmund, Weston McKennie of Schalke, and Marcus Thuram of Borussia Monchengladbach made on field protests at the weekend
British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster and tennis stars Serena Williams, Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka were among the sportspeople to speak out about Floyd’s death following basketball legend Michael Jordan who said he was “deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry”.
“I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration,”I stand with those calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of colour in our country. “We have had enough.”
Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, George Russell and Daniel Ricciardo all issued anti-racism messages on social media after world champion Lewis Hamilton criticised those in his industry for not speaking out.
“I’m one of the only people of colour and yet I stand alone,” the Briton, who is the only black F1 driver, wrote on Instagram. He added “I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us.”
Leclerc said he had been “completely wrong” not to speak out previously, saying he had not done so because he felt “out of place and uncomfortable”.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team said in a statement they “stand with Lewis” and were “deeply saddened by the recent developments and hope to see a de-escalation soon” adding that they condemn every form of discrimination as they work together to drive change forward.