Eden Hazard urges Germany to ‘focus on football’ after OneLove armband protest
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Belgium captain Eden Hazard has advised the Germany team to focus on football after their protest over FIFA’s decision to ban the wearing of the OneLove armband.
Coming into the World Cup, Germany, alongside with England, Wales and Netherlands were planning on wearing the OneLove armband in order to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
However, they decided against wearing the armband after FIFA threatened that yellow cards will be brandished if they proceed with their original plan.
As a result, Germany decided to protest by covering their mouths for their team photo ahead of their shock 2-1 defeat against Japan.
However, Real Madrid man Hazard has opted to focus purely on football.
He said after his country’s 1-0 win over Canada: “I'm not comfortable talking about it because I'm here to play football.
“We were banned for a bit… I didn't want to start the match with a yellow card, it would have been annoying for the rest of the tournament.”
Hazard then touched on Germany’s protest, he said: “They would have done better not to do it and to win instead. We are here to play football, I am not here to send a political message. Other people are better placed for that. We want to be focused on football.”
Germany manager Hansi Flick has stated that the gesture was done in order ‘to make a point’.
He said: “The reason for the armband was that the team wanted to make a point. FIFA put a stop to it and threatened punishments if it was on display. For those countries that played yesterday, it was extremely short notice. The armband is a symbol of diversity and values which we represent and live by.
“We treat each other with a great deal of respect and esteem, but as far as those values are concerned, there are parties who don't see it that way. Yellow cards wouldn't have been a problem, but the manner in which it was left open and threatened so shortly before the game put the likes of England and the Netherlands in a difficult position.
“There wasn't any time to react to it; therefore, those countries said that we will remove that pressure from the players' shoulders. I think it's a real shame that you aren't allowed to stand up for human rights anymore.”