Sporting director Rudi Voller calls for Germany to ABANDON the ‘One Love’ armband
- FIFA banned captains from wearing the One Love armband at the World Cup
- Germany protested the decision ahead of the first group match against Japan
- Sports director Rudi Voller called for the armband to no longer be worn
Germany’s sporting director Rudi Voller has urged the country’s football teams to stop wearing the “One Love” armband.
At the World Cup in Qatar, seven European teams, including Germany, planned for their captains to wear the much-discussed armband – a gesture against discrimination of all kinds.
It was designed to draw attention to human rights abuses in Qatar, as homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state and several international captains such as Manuel Neuer and Harry Kane wore it in pre-tournament matches.
At the last moment, however, FIFA banned teams from wearing the armband and threatened captains with a yellow card if caught doing so – many opting to wear FIFA’s proprietary ‘No Discrimination’ armband instead.
Germany – who survived a disastrous World Cup by falling out of the group stage – protested the decision by covering their mouths in a team photo ahead of the opening match against Japan in a clear message to FIFA.
But after a thorough analysis of their disappointing tournament performance, Rudi Voller, who replaced Oliver Bierhoff as the national team’s sporting director in January, urged the side to give up the armband and focus on football.
“I would say from the gut, we should wear a captain’s armband in the colors of Germany,” he told Sport Bild.
“Everything would calm down a bit with the new, old piece of cloth. I understand that from time to time you have to lead by example. But now it’s about football again.”
The “One Love” armband was also worn by German women’s team captain Alexandra Popp, and German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser appeared wearing the armband in the stands at the game against Japan.
Germany coach Hansi Flick also seemed to echo Voller’s comments, explaining how the band saga has put unnecessary pressure on the players of the tournament and saying the focus should be on football now ahead of Euro 2024 in Germany.
He recently said that as captain, Neuer “felt alone in the whole thing” and added: “There must never be so much pressure again – neither on an individual player nor on a team.
‘(Ahead of the Japan game) they almost only talked about the armband. It just wasn’t good and I hope we learn from this situation.
“Everyone, me, but also politicians and the association. Such sensitive issues would have to be clarified beforehand, that is the clear lesson from this World Cup.”
Flick’s side are back in action next week during the March international break when they meet Peru and Belgium in international friendlies – with host Germany not forced to take part in next summer’s Euro qualifiers.