DFB captain Manuel Neuer in the friendly against Oman with
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Of: Stephen Schmid

The teams want to set an example with the One-Love captain’s armband. Now, shortly before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, FIFA suddenly initiates its own campaign.

Munich / Qatar – It was considered a foregone conclusion that captains of some European countries in the World Cup 2022 will appear in Qatar with the “One Love” armband on their arm. It is intended to set an example for tolerance and self-determination as well as against discrimination in general. But now it seems FIFA wanting to make last-minute concessions to hosts Qatar in this area as well. At the last minute, the world association creates a competition campaign and could even enforce it with bans on the captains.

Bierhoff: “Seems as if FIFA doesn’t have a clear stance”

A day before the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador (Group A), FIFA presented a planned presentation of social campaigns in cooperation with United Nations organizations. The messages are supposed to be transported by means of an imprint on the captain’s armbands. The teams from Germany, Denmark and England, among others, wanted to use this to send their own signal using the “One Love” armband.

FIFA’s initiative, which plans to offer a different social organization a stage on the bandage every match day, would hardly cause criticism in a vacuum. Due to the short-term nature of the announcement in connection with Qatar’s negative attitude towards the “One Love” bandage, however, the suspicion arises that FIFA boss Gianni Infantino caves in again in front of the host country. The DFB managing director makes a similar statement Oliver Bierhoff. “Of course the short-term nature is surprising, it seems as if FIFA does not have a clear stance.”

DFB accepts financial penalties and wants to consult with other nations

What is certain is that according to the statues of the world association, it is regulated that it may dictate to the teams which captain’s armband they must wear. In the event of an infringement, the associations face a fine, which they would probably be willing to pay. Bernd Neuendorf, DFB President, emphasizes that the “One Love” bandage is “not a political statement, but a statement for human rights”.

DFB captain Manuel Neuer in the friendly against Oman with “One Love” captain’s armband. © IMAGO/ULMER/Markus Ulmer

The DFB captain also obliges Manuel Neuerwho would end up wearing the pad. “I think it’s good that we can make a statement together (with the other nations, ed.)” and promises: “We will try to enforce and represent it.” Bierhoff also continues to rely on the common sign and wants to “Vote with the other nations because it is important that it is the voice of several nations, not just one.”

No agreement was reached during a meeting of the working group of the European Football Union UEFA with FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura on Sunday. “We said we’ll stick to it, that we’ll run up with the bandage,” said DFB-President Neuendorf then in the ZDF interview. So there was no agreement. “We have repeatedly pointed out to FIFA well in advance that we want to play with this bandage, but FIFA has not reacted to it,” said Neuendorf.

Failure to do so could result in captains being banned

By making the captain’s armbands official equipment for players by FIFA, non-compliance with the requirements could not only result in a financial penalty for the associations. If a player does not wear the prescribed clothing within the framework of the regulations, this can be penalized by the referee with a yellow card. In concrete terms, this means that every captain who comes up with a “One Love” armband could receive a warning right at the beginning of the game.

If a player collects the yellow card for the second time during the tournament, he is banned for the following game. In Manuel Neuer’s case, that would mean he wasn’t allowed to play in the last group game against Costa Rica. According to information from picture the DFB consults on how to deal with it when FIFA asks the referees to implement the regulations with full force. With France, one team, in contrast to the other European representatives, has already announced don’t run up with the “One Love” bandage.

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