‘Now it’s about football again’: Germany sporting director Rudi Voller calls for their national teams to ABANDON the ‘One Love’ armband after their disastrous World Cup… as coach Hansi Flick claims the situation put unnecessary pressure on the players
- FIFA banned captains from wearing the ‘One Love’ armband in the World Cup
- Germany protested the decision ahead of their opening group game with Japan
- Sporting director Rudi Voller has called for them to stop wearing the armband
Germany’s sporting director Rudi Voller has called for the country’s football teams to stop wearing the ‘One Love’ armband.
At the World Cup in Qatar, seven European teams including Germany were planning for their captains to wear the much-discussed armband – which is a gesture of opposition to discrimination of all forms.
It was supposed to draw attention to human rights violations in Qatar, with homosexuality illegal in the Gulf state and several international captains such as Manuel Neuer and Harry Kane had worn it in games leading up to the tournament.
However, at the last moment, FIFA banned teams from wearing the armband and threatened captains with a yellow card if they were caught doing so – with many instead choosing to wear FIFA’s own ‘No Discrimination’ armband.
Germany – who endured a disastrous World Cup by crashing out in the group stages – protested at the decision by covering their mouths in a team photo ahead of their opening game against Japan in a clear message to FIFA.
Rudi Voller has called for Germany’s football teams to stop wearing the ‘One Love’ armband
FIFA banned captains from wearing the armband during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar last year
But, following a thorough review of their disappointing tournament performance, Rudi Voller – who replaced Oliver Bierhoff as the national team’s sporting director in January – urged the team to abandon the armband and focus on football.
‘I would say from the gut, we should wear a captain’s armband in the Germany colours,’ he told Sport Bild.
‘With the new, old piece of material, everything would calm down a bit. I understand that you have to set an example from time to time. But now it’s about football again.’
The ‘One Love’ armband has also been worn by the captain of the Germany women’s team Alexandra Popp and the country’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser appeared in the stands at the Japan game with the armband on.
Germany coach Hansi Flick also seemed to echo the comments of Voller and explained how the armband saga had put unnecessary pressure on the players at the tournament, saying the focus should now be on football ahead of the 2024 Euros which take place in Germany.
Germany protested the decision from FIFA ahead of their opening group game against Japan
Die Mannschaft crashed out of the tournament in the group stages after a disastrous showing
He recently said how Neuer as captain ‘felt alone on the whole issue’ and added: ‘There must never be so much pressure again – neither on an individual player nor on a team.
‘(In the lead up to 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 cleared 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 face Peru and Belgium in international friendlies – with Germany not forced to take part in qualification for next summer’s Euros as they are hosts.
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