Why are football players wearing black armbands?

    Manchester City wear black armbands to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II
    Footballers are frequently seen wearing black armbands (Picture: Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

    Football players are often spotted wearing black armbands on their sleeves during matches.

    The wearing of black armbands has been seen in the Premier League, Championship, Champions League and in other domestic leagues around Europe.

    But why exactly do footballers wear black armbands during matches?

    Here is what you need to know.

    Why do footballers wear black armbands during games?

    Footballers wear black armbands as a mark of respect to someone who has passed away or in remembrance of a certain occasion.

    The wearing of the armbands could be to mark the death of someone significant such as a Member of the Royal Family, a celebrity or a former player or manager.

    They can also be used to reflect on an event – historical or present – that has had an impact on a wide number of people.

    Joe Worrall wearing a black armband during a Premier League match with Fulham.
    Black armbands are a mark of respect (Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

    In games where black armbands are worn, players will often gather around the centre circle before the match for a minute’s silence or applause in remembrance.

    Where does the tradition come from?

    The tradition comes from Western culture, with black armbands worn to show the wearer is in a state of mourning or wishes to identify with the remembrance of a friend, comrade or team member who has passed away.

    The act normally takes place in the first meeting following the death of the individual.

    The practice of wearing black armbands is commonplace in cricket as well as football.

    Pedro Neto wears a black armband during a Premier League match
    Black armbands are used as a display of mourning and remembrance (Picture: Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolverhampton Wanderers FC via Getty Images)

    When have players worn black armbands in the past?

    Football clubs in the UK wore black armbands in the first fixtures held after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.

    Liverpool players wear the armbands every year to mark the anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, which resulted in the death of 97 fans during the team’s FA Cup semi-final fixture with Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989.

    Similarly, Manchester United wear them to remember the Munich Air Disaster in February 1958, where 23 people were killed when the British European Airways flight carrying players, journalists and supporters crashed whilst taking off from the Munich-Riem Airport in Germany.

    Bayern Munich players displayed the armband to support the Black Lives Matter movement in May 2020 following the killing of George Floyd.

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