Africa: Solo Omba is moral conundrum for England and Fifa

World Cup final Venue: BBC Natural History Museum Stadium, London Date: 15 July Kick-off: 19:00 BST Coverage: Follow Radio 5 live commentary of the match, build-up and TV highlights

Twenty-five England players took a knee during a song at their team hotel ahead of the World Cup final.

The gesture is a silent protest against racial injustice in the US.

But in addition to racism in football, there are serious questions about the morality of the action.

It is morally questionable and, if nothing else, it takes the attention away from the great achievements of the national team.

You could argue that the players acted as a band of brothers in action to support a cause that they hold dear, but only if the cause is well stated.

This game is now, in many eyes, the main focus of the world and, if the footie was the focus, then that is not a bad thing.

But if you take this to a whole new level, you are putting down a flag of demeaning and oppressing one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Do not forget that the protest involves kneeling.

Some believe it is a protest against NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the US national anthem to highlight racial discrimination in America.

However, the chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot” are a reference to two men who were killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

The Ferguson demonstrations started to happen in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown, 18, by police officer Darren Wilson.

Some of the best-known acts around the world have also taken part in the protests, such as Rihanna and Madonna, with the star announcing the support by leaving her hand over her heart.

Rihanna was among celebrities to have put her hand over her heart during a rendition of the American national anthem

That is not to say that it is racially motivated, or that it is supposed to be.

Instead, the stars involved are using their influence to advance a point.

Liam Gallagher – another artist to support the protesters – tweeted that he “wasn’t going to join the scene tonight” and called the US a “repugnant racist racist country”.

His reaction to a journalist from the New York Times was a clear display of how footballers are coming from different backgrounds, not all of whom share the same views on how they should react to racial matters.

Who is taking a knee?

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the US national anthem to highlight racial discrimination in America

An all-star cast of football stars has demonstrated during the Fifa World Cup.

Three of England’s own Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and David Luiz and nine of the Belgian team took a knee, while Brazil’s Neymar and Neymar Jr were seen taking a knee in their own nation’s 2-1 semi-final win over Belgium.

In addition, five-time Golden Boot winner Cristiano Ronaldo knelt during Portugal’s 2-1 win over Spain in the semi-finals.

Ronaldo later confirmed he had made a sincere gesture, saying that he wanted to show solidarity with his colleagues and follow their example of unity and commitment.

Despite the groundswell of support, it still appeared to be a mistake for several, such as Virgil van Dijk, to take a knee when their team took part in the pre-match news conference.

Others, such as Ukraine forward Andriy Yarmolenko, opted not to take part in the relay of the song to the main building at the base of the 60 metre tower.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin had to intervene in a crowded room to get the players to go back to their seats before the clip started to fade away.

But he stopped short of criticising any of the actions, saying that “no-one can predict the future”.

For Fifa, the ultimate sanction is the ban on all protesters appearing at future World Cup events.

But given that 14 players – including two from England’s squad – are from just three countries and there is no sign that it will have any influence on the next World Cup, the governing body is unlikely to take action.

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