The rainbow armband came to wider prominence at Euro 2020 when worn by Germany’s Manuel Neuer prompting a much-criticised UEFA investigation. The governing body dropped its review but incurred further ire for its stance against the Allianz Arena being lit up in multi colours for the clash with Hungary.
The band represents solidarity with the LGBT+ community during June’s Pride month and, along with the laces campaign, is seen as an attempt to combat homophobia in the sport. It was not the first time the rainbow colours were displayed on a captain’s armband, however.
In June 2016, USA’s Michael Bradley’s side faced Ecuador in the Copa America quarterfinals at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The fixture came just five days after the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub, one of the deadliest attacks in American history. The player himself approached the team’s equipment manager Jesse Bignami and collaborated with the Seattle Reign and Sounders, who’d fashioned something similar for the previous year’s Pride, to create the strap which sported the team’s motto “One Nation.”
The skipper’s move sparked huge praise especially among LGBT+ organisations while rumours also abounded that U.S. Soccer willingly paid a $1000 fine to display the armband.
Image: Instruct, a Manchester-based studio that works closely with the National Football Museum. instruct.studio
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