In the dispute over the “One Love” captain’s armband, national soccer player Thomas Müller criticized FIFA and defended his teammates. “Anyone who expects us footballers to completely leave our path as athletes and give up our sporting dreams, for which we have worked all our football life, in order to position ourselves even more politically, will be disappointed,” Müller wrote on Instagram Tuesday evening one day before the start of the World Cup against Japan on Wednesday (2 p.m./ live on ARD, on MagentaTV and in the FAZ.NET live ticker for the World Cup). At the same time, the professional from Bayern Munich expressed a lack of understanding for the action taken by the world association: “The position of FIFA and the way in which it was communicated about the ban on pads are in no way understandable for us.”
The One Love armband was a joint effort announced in September by teams from Germany, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Wales, France, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, both of which have not qualified for the World Cup. The colorful captain’s armband should be a symbol of equality and freedom of expression at the World Cup. FIFA had announced that it would sanction the wearing of the “One Love” captain’s armband at the World Cup in Qatar. World Cup host Qatar has been criticized for disregarding human rights standards.
“The unrest surrounding the events leading up to the World Cup tournament in Qatar, the ban on the One Love bandage and other strange actions and statements by FIFA are of concern to us players and the entire team,” said Müller. The team and the German Football Association (DFB) are socially committed, wrote the 33-year-old. “With our team foundation, we have launched various initiatives not only in connection with the tournament in Qatar, but also throughout Germany.”