Teams of 13-year-old footballers had to kneel before a game as part of a Black Lives Matter protest, with parents accusing officials of “turning the game into a political statement.”
Ringwood City Soccer Club and Manning United Blues FC played a game on Thursday in Frankston, 41 km southeast of Melbourne.
Before the match, players were asked to take a knee by referees, which has become a worldwide symbol of support for the Black Lives Matter racial equality movement.
A parent of one of the clubs said it was wrong for the teenagers to be forced to participate and called the solidarity show “bizarre,” the Herald Sun..
The highly political statement went alongside a minute of silence before the baffled teens started their game.
Ringwood City Soccer Club and Manning United Blues FC played a match on Thursday in Frankston, 41 km southeast of Melbourne (stock image)
Before the game, the players were asked by umpires to knee in support of Black Lives Matter protests across the country (pictured, BLM protest in Sydney on June 6)
“I don’t think children understand the politics behind all this,” said one parent.
“As a parent, it would have been nice to think about it and talk about it beforehand.”
Ringwood City Soccer Club Vice President Danielle Hine said it should have been discussed prior to the game so that juniors could understand what was happening.
Mark Giuliani, president of Manning United Blues FC, told Daily Mail Australia that it was brought to the club’s attention that the minute’s silence was not requested by their club or Ringwood City Soccer Club – but by the referee.
He said the club inquired and contacted Football Victoria and that it was “now up to them to determine what actions to take.”
“The club is not behind anything that is political or religious,” said Giuliani.
Players take a knee before the round two AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Essendon Bombers at Sydney Cricket Ground on June 14 (photo)
Black Lives Matter protesters gather in Melbourne’s CBD (photo) on June 6 as the movement gained momentum across Australia, focusing on the treatment of Aboriginal people
“We are having a committee meeting tonight and are having discussions with relevant parent groups. We are a sports club, we are here to put players on the field and make sure they have a good time. ‘
Football Victoria said the game was not officially approved by the organization, but it was a friendly match organized by the clubs.
The organization said in a statement that referees had asked the players to kneel a few minutes before kick-off.
“Football Victoria respects the right of individuals or groups to take such actions, but this request was made directly by the match official without any involvement or awareness of Football Victoria,” the statement said.
Players take a knee to support Black Lifes matter during an AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on June 14 (photo)
Any suggestion that this initiative was taken towards Football Victoria as a publicity stunt is false.
“FV is investigating the matter further, as we expect clubs and players to agree before the match to be part of any action.”
Other sports, such as AFL, have taken a knee to support the Black Lives Matter protests.
Over the weekend, thousands of Australians have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests in Sydney, Newcastle, Darwin, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.
The Sydney protest was unauthorized, but more than 1,000 people defied public health restrictions.
Black Lives Matter has an important international goal: to defraud the police, the movement says on its US website.
The protests received international recognition after the death of the American man George Floyd on May 25.
Mr. Floyd died during his arrest after a Minneapolis police officer knelt in the neck for eight minutes.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ringwood City Soccer Club for comment.
Greater Western Sydney Giants and North Melbourne Kangaroos players, coaches and umpires take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on June 14 (photo)