Olly Murs and fellow celebrity players showed their support towards the Black Lives Matter movement during annual charity game Soccer Aid at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday.
The captain for the England football team, 36, knelt to the ground alongside the likes of teammate Danny Jones and Rest of The World players DJ Locksmith and guitarist Sergio Pizzorno as a powerful symbol against racism.
Black Lives Matter has been recognised worldwide in recent months after a video surfaced of a white officer Derek Chauvin killing unarmed black man George Floyd by crushing his neck with his knee in Minneapolis back in May.
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Powerful: Olly Murs and fellow celebrity players showed their support towards the Black Lives Matter movement at annual charity game Soccer Aid at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday
American footballer Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem kneeling protest staged in 2016 has since become synonymous with the movement.
Sky Sports pundit Alex Scott has urged English football to press on with support for the campaign next season.
The former Arsenal women’s star said clubs, players and staff should continue their displays against discrimination after a year that has seen the world of sport play a huge part in bringing awareness by striking, taking a knee before games and wearing the movement’s message on jerseys.
The death of George triggered protests around the world and those demonstrations reached many sports – with the Premier League featuring Black Lives Matter on shirts instead of player names.
Making a statement: The captain for the England team, 36, knelt to the ground alongside the likes of Danny Jones, DJ Locksmith and Sergio Pizzorno as a symbol against racism (pictured)
‘We need to keep it at the forefront’: Sky Sports pundit Alex Scott has urged English football to press on with support for the campaign next season (pictured with Dermot O’Leary)
Symbol: John Terry followed the players in taking the knee, nearly eight years after accepting a four game ban and £220,000 fine from the FA for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand
Unity: The former Chelsea captain, 39, was joined by (L-R) Lianne Sanderson, Kelly Smith and Tom Davis
Impressive: Thanks to the generosity of ITV viewers, Soccer Aid raised a record £11,552,577 – the most the match has ever generated in the history of the show
Clubs knelt before each game in the restart and there are plans to keep that show of support going for the 2020-21 campaign.
‘We still need to keep the Black Lives Matter movement going,’ former Strictly star Alex, 35, said after England’s 1-0 win over Iceland in the Nations League on Saturday.
‘Basketball players in the play-offs are boycotting games. We just need to keep going. We need to keep it at the forefront of people’s conversation. So any opportunity we can, we need to shine a light on it.’
Viewers took to Twitter to claim it was ‘ironic’ that Chelsea icon John Terry had also took the knee, nearly eight years after accepting a four game ban and £220,000 fine from the FA for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
The sportsman was found not guilty of the racially aggravated public order offence in July 2012, nine months after he mouthed the words ‘f****** black c***’ in Anton’s direction during Chelsea’s defeat against QPR at Loftus Road.
Awkward: Viewers took to Twitter to claim it was ‘ironic’ that Chelsea icon John had also took the knee due to his past, while others disagreed
Social media users wrote: ‘I enjoyed watching John Terry, a player banned for 4 games and fined over £200k for racist remarks during a match, take the knee for BLM #SoccerAid.
‘John terry taking a knee “in support” of black lives matter [confused emoji].
‘The cameraman knows the irony at John Terry taking a knee #SoccerAid.
‘I missed the kick off. Twitter says John Terry took the knee – after what he said to Anton Ferdinand? Say it ain’t so? #SoccerAid.’
Others disagreed: ‘People banging on about John Terry taking the knee for BLM….if he didn’t do it people would be making comments, guy can’t win can he?
History: He was found not guilty of the public order offence in July 2012, nine months after he mouthed the words ‘f****** black c***’ in Anton’s direction at a match (pictured in 2012)
‘Keep seeing posts about John Terry taking the knee as being hypocritical. That’s the same John Terry who was found ‘Not Guilty’ in a court of law. That’s also the same John Terry who has friends and former teammates who are of different ethnic backgrounds. Give it a rest!’
In a statement, the centre-back said at the time: ‘After careful consideration, I have decided not to appeal against the FA judgement.
‘I want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone for the language I used in the game against Queens Park Rangers last October.
‘Although I’m disappointed with the FA judgement, I accept that the language I used, regardless of the context, is not acceptable on the football field or indeed in any walk of life.
Controversy: Others slammed viewers who stopped watching the event and donating towards the cause when they realised female footballers were playing and stars took the knee
‘As I stated in the criminal case, with the benefit of hindsight my language was clearly not an appropriate reaction to the situation for someone in my position.
‘My response was below the level expected by Chelsea Football Club, and by me, and it will not happen again. Looking forward, I will continue to do my part in assisting the club to remove all types of discriminatory behaviour from football.
‘I am extremely grateful for the consistent support of Chelsea FC, the fans and my family.’
Rest of the World triumphed once again in penalty shootout as comedian Lee Mack missed from the spot for England for a third year in a row.
Wahay! Rest of the World triumphed once again in penalty shootout at as comedian Lee Mack missed from the spot for England for a third year in a row
The penalty shootout had been brought about by a 1-1 final score, following a game in which both sides had plenty of fun.
Soccer Aid raised a record £11,552,577 – the most the match has ever generated in the history of the show.
There was no crowd present at Old Trafford but, in the end, it was probably a good job as the goals were shy on arrival.
‘I think I’ll pass!’ Earlier in the event, Olly was left disappointed as Olivia Colman declined his offer to join the England football team
Pretty please? Speaking via a video call, the Voice judge attempted to persuade the award-winning actress, 46, to play in the match
Earlier in the event, Olly was left disappointed as Olivia Colman declined his offer to join the England football team in a funny sketch.
Speaking via a video call, he attempted to persuade the award-winning actress, 46, to play in the match, but the screen star made it clear she’d only be interested in taking part in TV, theatre and film roles.
The Voice judge later reached out to will.i.am, Dolly Parton, Alan Carr, Alison Hammond and Rylan Clark-Neal, before settling with comedian Joel Dommett.
Not impressed: The screen star made it clear she’d only be interested in taking part in TV, theatre and film roles
‘Do you have a script for me?’ Olly’s description of the job clearly confused The Crown star Olivia, who believed she was signing up for an acting stint
Eager: The desperate artist later called other celebrities, including Alan Carr and Alison Hammond, who both refused to take part
The hilarious skit kicked off with the former X Factor star approaching manager Sam Allardyce, joined by fellow coach Wayne Rooney, for advice on who to recruit for the group.
Olly’s description of the job clearly confused The Crown star Olivia, who believed she was signing up for an acting stint.
‘Do you have a script you can send me? I can research the striker and it can grow originally! Do you have Dame Judi on board?’, the thespian asked, before the musician said: ‘Just Mark Wright!’
An unimpressed Olivia boldly replied: ‘I think I’ll pass!’
Taking the lead: The TV star put on an animated display as he took to the pitch
‘My body is aching!’ The Body Coach Joe Wicks surprised host Kirsty Gallacher as he confessed he struggled to keep up with his teammates during training for the game
Impressive: Former TOWIE star Mark Wright showcased his athletic prowess as he played for England
The desperate artist later called host Alan, 44, and This Morning’s Alison, 45, who said respectively: ‘Yes, I will manage your England team. My dad used to manage Northampton footcball club… I’m talking about my singing career, not football!’
Failing to find potential teammates, former Big Brother presenter Rylan, 31, added salt to the wound as he asked: ‘I haven’t got to wear one of them football shirts do I?, before American singer Dolly, 74, admitted: ‘Sorry Olly, I’m working 9 to 5!’
Olly’s fellow The Voice coach will.i.am, 45, was enthusiastic for the wrong reasons as he suggested: ‘Every time we score, I want to sing and change our outfits. Who else is playing that sings? Come on bro, most of the time you’re just on Instagram!’
The media personality was left to take in The Masked Singer UK’s Joel, 35, who put on a goofy display by wearing a David Beckham face mask while revealing he was more than excited to join the team.
Wow-factor: Alfie Allen appeared pensive as he practised his skills ahead of the game
Trying his best: The actor, 33, narrowly failed to save a penalty in the south out
In the zone: England coach Wayne Rooney showed James Bay the ropes as he instructed him during the game
Attentive: The Derby County captain, 34, watched the match unfold from the sidelines
Cheery: Presenter Roman Kemp ensured he captured the calm before the storm on his mobile phone ahead of the event
Elsewhere in the event, the Troublemaker hitmaker enthused about participating in the important match for six years in a row.
The TV star said: ‘It’s different from previous soccer aids. It feel as amazing to be captain, I feel very lucky.’
The Body Coach Joe Wicks surprised host Kirsty Gallacher as he confessed he struggled to keep up with his teammates during training for the game, despite keeping the nation fit with his daily P.E. exercise sessions.
The fitness enthusiast, 33, said: ‘Everyone assumes I’m the Body Coach but I’m not match-fit. My body is aching and I’m not used to this!’
In good company: Football pundit for the night Maya Jama commentated on the match alongside comedian Omid Djalili, footballer Alex and host Dermot
Catching the eye: The DJ, 26, stunned in black co-ords, which she teamed with dewy make-up and eclipse mini hoops by Lara Heems
Robbie Williams, who initiated Soccer Aid 14 years ago, said via live link: ‘I’m really well. This year has been one of the weirdest years on record.
‘I always thought at least I got Soccer Aid but as I went on holiday I got put on the travel ban. The game is a bit slow but it’s fantastic entertainment. We’re here for the tackles.
‘It’s made me emotional see how far Soccer Aid has come. I’m very proud and patriotic.’
England XI featured Olly, Mark, David James, John Bishop (Pady McGuinness), Wes Brown, John Terry, Gareth Barry, Katie Chapman, Danny Jones (Yung Filly), Kelly Smith and Tom Davis (Chunkz) (Lee).
‘It’s made me emotional see how far Soccer Aid has come’: Rock star Robbie Williams initiated Soccer Aid 14 years ago
Rest of the World XI, meanwhile, starred captain Mo Gilligan, Shay Given, Locksmith, Mikael Silvestre, Patrice Evra, Michael Essien, Dermot Kennedy, Jeremy Lynch, Chelcee Grimes, Lianne Sanderson and Serge Pizzorno (Kem Cetinay).
Harry Redknapp returned to manage the side, along with Bryan Robson and Vic Bettinelli.
The annual charity fundraiser saw former players and prominent celebrities join forces in an 11-a-side match which is hosted in conjunction with UNICEF.