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Armband ban 'unprecedented' from FIFA, says German football boss

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Al Shamal, Qatar, Nov 21, 2022 (AFP) - German Football Association president Bernd Neuendorf said on Monday that FIFA's threats of on-field sanctions for wearing the 'One Love' armband were "an unprecedented event in World Cup history".

Neuendorf confirmed an earlier announcement that Germany captain Manuel Neuer would not wear the rainbow-themed armband, which supports LGBTQ rights, at the tournament.

FIFA had "threatened on-field sanctions", believed to be yellow or red cards, against players who wore them on the pitch.

"We will not place the weight of FIFA's confrontation on the back of Manuel Neuer," Neuendorf said, telling reporters the DFB "was very frustrated with FIFA's decision".

"We don't want to expose our captain to such a risk (that) he would receive a sporting sanction," he said from the team's training ground at Al Shamal, in northern Qatar.

"We were willing to pay the fines that are normally imposed for violations and we strongly advocated wearing the armband."

Neuendorf said the decision to threaten on-field sanctions was "a show of force from FIFA".

While FIFA has previously discouraged teams from making "political statements", the organisation's statutes are unclear on whether these could lead to on-pitch consequences.

The director of the German team, former striker Oliver Bierhoff, said FIFA "escalated" the situation, with Neuer and the German team "going to bed last night believing he would be wearing the armband".

"Manu is in a difficult situation -- we all are. Manu is disappointed, as he said in the press conference he would wear the armband, along other European team captains like (England's) Harry Kane."

Germany play their Group E opener against Japan on Wednesday.

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