Aside from giving “the” entertainment in the field of sports, the English Football Association will also pay homage to the suffering families and victims of Christchurch Mosque attacks before finally entering the 2020 qualifying tournament against the Czech Republic at Wembley.
The announcement was initially made through Twitter, saying that the national team would pay tribute to the people killed in New Zealand at England vs. Czech Republic match on Friday, March 22, 2019.
“We will remember everyone affected by the terrible events in Christchurch.” the FA tweeted.
The shootout killed 50 people and wounded 48 victims when the perpetrators attacked two mosques on Friday. Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year old Australian was caught and arrested after the incident happened. He was eventually charged with murder on Saturday.
Critics said that the FA team was obliged to do their tribute after being condemned for not participating or holding its version of paying respect to the victims. A minute’s of silence for the Christchurch victims was held before the weekend’s Six Nations rugby union games, as well as, on rugby league’s Super League Fixtures but not at the Premier League, EFL or FA Cup matches.
The teams were accused of ‘double standards’ for not paying respect towards the attack on a weekend. “It is double standards and hypocrisy. To hold a minute’s silence was the right thing to do. When it happens for the events, it has to happen across the board for every attack.”
The former Chair of the FA race equality board, Yunus Lunat, emphasized the football’s failure to honor the victims, comparing the leagues’ action to the previous acts of terrorism on Paris in November 2015. It led the world of sports when Premier League clubs made an effort to encourage everyone on wearing black armbands and played the national anthem of France as a sign of paying respect to the victims of the Paris terror attacks, wherein 130 people were killed, and hundreds were wounded.
Lunat told BBC Sport: “There is no excuse, whenever something has happened, not even on the same scale, football has always come out and paid tribute.” He then added that this happens because the team lacks senior role models and ethnic executives that would lead them in an important event such as this.
The issue also extended to a more serious topic such as the lack of Muslims in leadership roles in sport, particularly football, even though there were qualified ones who applied for the position.
The incident created several hate responses in the internet spaces including Twitter which led to the creation of hashtags such as ‘#MoreToFootball?,’ and ‘#MuslimLivesDontMatter.’ But the famous among the hashtags is #Doublestandards proliferates not just in Twitter but also in different media platforms.
One employment lawyer wrote in his twitter account ‘Shame on you FA, premier league, EFL,’ which is later supported by thousands of Twitter users who demanded that the national team has neglected its part as a huge influencer in the name of sport. It could gather a lot of audiences and encourage them to also heed a tribute to the victims, especially to the families who mourn for their loss.
Outgoing Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore has expressed his side on the issue. He said at the time when Paris was attacked, and they represented ‘solidarity and remembrance.’
It became a missed opportunity for the team to make a massive statement about what is happening around the world, and it was also a great chance to speak out and be counted.
But a statement from FA confirmed that the team would be having its tribute and defended itself from further scrutiny. Yahoo reported that Watford, Swansea, Wolves, and Millwall were all at home for their FA Cup quarterfinal held at the weekend. The FA said that “it is up to the clubs if they want to hold a silence or not. We would support them if they did”. After all, the FA Cup is the FA’s competition. If it shows a lack of leadership, then it might be the end of a sport which grows out of deep sense of cooperation as well as loyalty to each other.