Belgium captain Eden Hazard criticised Germany’s protest against FIFA’s ban on teams from wearing the ‘One Love’ armband during the FIFA World Cup.
Germany players placed their hands over their mouths for a team photograph on the pitch ahead of kick-off against Japan, after FIFA had threatened seven European teams with sanctions if they wore the armband symbolising diversity and tolerance.
Germany suffered a shock 1-2 defeat to Japan in their Group E fixture.
The Real Madrid attacker claimed the players are ‘here to play football’ and ‘not here to send a political message’.
“Yeah, but then they lost the game,” Hazard told RMC Sport. “They would’ve been better off not doing it and winning. We’re here to play football, I’m not here to send a political message, there are people better placed for that. We want to focus on football.”
Hazard’s Belgium struggled against Canada but held on for a nervy 1-0 win in their Group F game.
The OneLove armbands, intended to send a message of tolerance, connection and opposition to all forms of discrimination, have been in the global spotlight since FIFA threatened several European team captains with yellow cards if they wore them to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Wales backed down, but on Wednesday, the Dutch federation (KNVB) said they were jointly considering their legal options.
With inputs from Reuters