UEFA investigating Manuel Neuer’s rainbow captain armband

19 June 2021, Bavaria, Munich: Football: European Championship, Portugal - Germany, preliminary round, Group F, 2nd matchday in the EM Arena Munich. Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is annoyed after conceding a goal. Photo: Christian Charisius/dpa (Photo by Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is under investigation in a seemingly harmless move after he wore a rainbow-colored captain’s band. In honor of June being “Pride Month” for the LGBTQ community, Germany’s number one wore the band in the team’s last 3 matches.

DFB, Germany’s football association, may face fines from UEFA.

With Germany facing Hungary in the team’s next fixture, concern arose that the investigation stemmed from the latter nation’s own interests. Just last week, on June 15, the Hungarian government passed an anti-LGBTQ law. The law reportedly banned the education or promotion of any LGBTQ content in schools.

A spokesperson from Germany’s leading LGBTQ organization condemned the investigation.

“We are currently in “Pride Month,” and at the most important sporting event of the month, the wearing of a rainbow captain’s armband should be prevented? UEFA must also remember who it represents. How should the athletes think about this? We strive for an open football.”

Christian Rudolph

According to UEFA, the armband may be considered a ‘political sign,’ which is banned by UEFA. However, this investigation comes despite players across Europe kneeling in support of ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Many called this a political statement, but no investigation ever occurred. Sadly, kneeling grew unpopular with fans, who often booed the action.

Over the past year, Europe’s governing football body gained a reputation of contradiction and corruption. Before the Euros, UEFA even promoted a social justice campaign aimed at stopping discrimination of all kinds.

While the Euros are yet to reach even the knockout stage, UEFA already encountered its fair share of controversy. Earlier in the week, they threatened to move the tournament’s semifinals and final away from London. This came after the UK government and UEFA clashed over COVID travel exemptions.

Whether the investigation yields consequences for Neuer and Germany is unknown. However, UEFA faces yet another controversy and contradiction for what seems like the thousandth time this season.

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