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Entertainment

'More action, less lip service' says Christian footballer Fabrice Muamba as FA urges fans not to boo players taking the knee

by Kelly Valencia

Christian ex-England footballer Fabrice Muamba has told Premier the Football Association (FA) should take more action rather than paying "lip service" to tackle racism within the football industry.

"It's lip service because this is stuff from two to four years ago. I think Raheem Sterling was playing against Chelsea and there was a guy behind him doing the monkey chants and stuff like that. It's been called [out]. But, what's the sanction? Nobody knows. It is okay [because] we are the easy target, but you never speak badly about any other race or any religion," Muamba told Premier. 

His comments come as England players were booed again by fans on Sunday before their Euro 2020 opening match against Croatia when taking the knee, a gesture that symbolises a stand against racism.

Similar episodes occurred during friendly matches against Austria and Romania earlier this month. 

In response, the FA released a statement urging fans not to boo players that decide to take a stand but the gesture was still received with a variety of responses from fans attending the match. 

For Muamba, there is still work to be done to achieve racial equality in the Premier League, especially in managerial positions. 

 "When you look at the Premier League, when you look at the board of the Premier League, [it] is not the same reflection, is it? in terms of the colour of players, and the colour of managers, [it] is not the same reflection. So, what are we taking the knee for? For George Floyd? Who passed away twelve months ago? Are we taking the knee for race? Or are we taking the knee for equality? Because the game has never been equal." 

Scotland players will take the knee in solidarity with their English counterparts when they meet at Wembley on 18th June in a group match.

The Home Secretary referred to the act of footballers taking the knee as "gesture politics" while the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove said people should have the opportunity to show their "strength of feeling against prejudice". 

Muamba, who suffered a heart attack during the FA Cup quarter-final between Bolton and Tottenham in 2012, also said watching Danish player Christian Eriksen collapse during a match on Saturday brought back feelings he had not revisited in a long time.

"There's this feeling where you press down inside you where you don't want to relive it again. And to see a fellow professional in the similar circumstance. It's almost just like that feeling where I'm like come on, please, not this one again. That's a type of feeling that I had not revisited for a long time. But as I said before, I'm thankful. And I'm grateful that the guy was able to make a recovery."

Christian Eriksen is stable but remains in hospital recovering from the cardiac arrest. 

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