Roy Keane has hit out at the German national team despite their pre-match protest against FIFA. The Irishman believes the players could do more insisting captain Manuel Neuer should have worn the OneLove captain’s armband.
The OneLove armband has been one of the most controversial moments of the tournament so far after Germany, England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands planned to wear it in protest against Qatar’s record on human rights.
However, they backed down after FIFA said they would face sporting sanctions including yellow cards for doing so. The Germans have been the first to perform a collective show of unhappiness at the decision, using their team photo to cover their mouths to suggest they had been silenced.
Yet, this was not enough for Keane who believes the players can still be doing more.
“It’s a gesture and it’s a start,” he told ITV at half-time “But I think they can still do a lot more. They say they have been silenced, by who?
“The most important people in football are supporters and the players. Use your voice! Wear the armband! Stand up, leadership is about action, go and do it. It’s a gesture and its a start but they can do more.”
However, fellow pundit Ian Wright praised the team’s actions, with German Minister of the Interior and Community of Germany, Nancy Faeser, seen in the stands wearing the armband instead of Neuer.
“It’s Fantastic,” the former Arsenal striker said. “They wanted to wear the armband to protest and I am delighted for them because they’ve done something and it is on a global stage. It is a moment for people to see for the LGBTQ+ community to see that people are standing in solidarity with them.
“That’s fantastic from the Germans and I hope others maybe do the same.”
Germany have since released a statement on their pre-match actions and doubled down on their stance and the message they hope to send.
It read: “It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us.
“Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”
Germany have appealed FIFA’s threat of sporting sanctions at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the hope they can wear the OneLove armband against Spain, with a decision expected within 48 hours.