Now the German Football Association has buckled. Contrary to what was planned, Manuel Neuer, as captain of the national team, will not wear the “One Love” captain’s armband at the World Cup in Qatar. The DFB is doing without the announced sign of equality, tolerance and freedom of expression and bowing to Fifa, which had threatened the associations with sanctions. After consultations with the world football association, the Uefa nations involved decided not to take the risk.
Initially, only a yellow card was assumed for the team captain in the event of an infringement. Now the world association is said to have threatened the teams with point deductions. In addition to Germany, England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland then collectively withdrew their announcement that they would wear the bandage. France’s captain Hugo Lloris announced several days ago that he would not wear the bandage.
The first captain to openly flout Fifa regulations during the finals would have been England’s Harry Kane in Monday’s game against Iran. “We were willing to pay penalties, which would normally be the case for violating dress regulations. However, we have not been able to put our players in a situation where they could receive a yellow card or even be forced off the pitch,” read the joint statement released by the English FA.
Although the associations had declared their intention weeks ago and had already worn the “One Love” armband at international matches, FIFA only presented its own new captain’s armbands on Friday – two days before the opening game.
“The fact that Fifa wants to punish us on the pitch is unique and goes against the spirit of sport, which unites millions,” said a statement from the Dutch association: “We stand by the ‘One Love’ message and will continue to do so spread, but our top priority is to win games. You don’t want the captain to start the game with a yellow card.”