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Australians Matildas spark controversy by posing with the Aboriginal flag before Olympics clash 

‘You represent all Australians’: Matildas spark controversy by posing with the Aboriginal flag before their first game in the Tokyo Olympics

The Matildas side have kicked off their Olympics campaign in controversy with a powerful gesture that has divided Australia.

The Australian women’s soccer side posed with the Aboriginal flag ahead of their Olympic Games opener against New Zealand in Tokyo on Wednesday night.  

The team then stood arm-in-arm on the halfway line as their Kiwi opponents dropped to one knee to take a stand against racism prior to kick off.

But not all viewers watching back home appreciated the inclusive gesture, with some questioning why the team chose not to pose with the Australian flag.

The Matildas squad made a powerful statement by posing with the Aboriginal flag prior to kick-off on Wednesday night

‘Hey Matildas.. you represent Australia. The Aboriginal flag is not the Australian flag,’ one fan wrote.

Another added: ‘I absolutely love watching the Matildas play but why the hell did they display the Aboriginal flag and not the Australian flag? It is such a strange, divisive situation for a country to have two flags in my opinion.

Others accused the Matildas of making a political statement.

‘When will sport just be about getting on and playing sport, yes I agree statements need to be made about political issues but there is a place for that to happen surely,’ one viewer commented.

Many viewers questioned why the Matildas (pictured) didn't pose with the Australian flag

Many viewers questioned why the Matildas (pictured) didn’t pose with the Australian flag

The powerful statement by the Matildas came under fire from viewers back home

The powerful statement by the Matildas came under fire from viewers back home

Another questioned why the Matildas also didn’t take a knee prior to kick-off.

‘Lots of questions about the Matildas at the Olympics. Strong choice in not holding the Australian flag only the Aboriginal flag, but then not taking a knee like their NZ counterparts. Anyone know why or did I miss it?,’ one woman tweeted. 

But many viewers were pleased to see the Aboriginal flag on display.

‘Well done Matildas for standing arm in arm in a show of unity and togetherness for all Australian cultures , if only those who kneel new the true value of equality,’ one fan wrote.

Matildas captain Sam Kerr defended the gesture after the match and said decided on  consultation with fellow indigenous members in the squad. 

‘We are really proud of it,’ the star striker said following the 2-1 win.

The Matildas' Kiwi opponents also sparked controversy by taking a knee prior to kick-off

The Matildas’ Kiwi opponents also sparked controversy by taking a knee prior to kick-off

‘It’s something we spoke about a lot as a team.

‘We let the Indigenous girls drive it.’

‘We didn’t want to do something that goes along with the grain, we wanted to do something that was relevant for our country.’

Australia takes on world number five ranked Sweden in their next clash on Saturday who caused a massive upset on Wednesday night by defeating gold medal favourites USA 3-0.

The Matildas (pictured in action on Wednesday night) decided to pose with the Aboriginal flag after consulting with indigenous players in the squad

The Matildas (pictured in action on Wednesday night) decided to pose with the Aboriginal flag after consulting with indigenous players in the squad

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk