footballers wear black armbands

Why Do Footballers Wear Black Armbands?

Football teaches players the value of teamwork and fair play. Coaches work hard from an early age to instill compassion for their teammates and true values that will guide them throughout their lives.

Football associations around the world are always looking for ways to demonstrate that one of the main football values is respect for others, and many football players truly embody this value. They are aware of their current influence on the public, so they will draw attention to themselves when they feel the need to do something meaningful. When watching football games these days, you may notice that some players wear black armbands.

Football players wear black armbands as a mark of respect to express sympathy and compassion following a tragic event. In Western culture, a black armband indicates that the person wearing it is in mourning or wishes to identify with someone who is in mourning.

Where it all started

The black armband was first used as a mourning symbol in 1770s England. From 1795 to 1830, all men and male children in England were expected to wear black suits and black armbands.

Mourning attire was at its peak during Queen Victoria’s reign in England from 1837 to 1901. Following the death of the Queen’s beloved husband, Albert, in 1861, all royal servants were ordered to wear black crepe armbands in his honor for at least eight years.

footballers wear black armbands

How & When do Footballers Wear Black Armbands? 

Footballers wearing black armbands are common after a tragic event occurs to a former or current team member or manager. It should be worn on the right arm to avoid confusion with the captain’s armband, which should be worn on the left arm. There are various occasions when players show their support or pay their respects.

Footballers Wear Black Armbands after Catastrophic Events

Footballers wearing black armbands show their respect following natural disasters in their own country or around the world. These incidents are shocking and unexpected, with often disastrous consequences. Some natural disasters affect the entire human race, and players will join the fight to raise awareness of the problem.

Tsunamis in Japan, earthquakes in Mexico, and floods in Spain are just a few of the natural disasters where players raised their voices symbolically to raise public awareness of the issues and show solidarity with the victims and their families.

Footballers Wear Black Armbands on Specific Dates

Unfortunately, many events in our history have resulted in destruction and chaos. This includes wars, terrorist attacks, accidents, and other unlucky occurrences. As a result, it is not surprising that such dates elicit strong emotions in people, including football players, who have a strong desire to connect with others, share their pain, and show their respect to victims.

World War One Remembrance Day

It is customary in the United Kingdom to commemorate the nation’s sacrifices during World War One on November 11th, the commemorative holiday Remembrance Day. This day is a national holiday in many countries, including the United Kingdom.

As a show of solidarity and unity, players from both England and Germany wore black armbands with a poppy symbol during a friendly match in 2017. Other nations, including Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, adopted this gesture and wore the same symbols during international games.

Football players in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 wore black armbands to honor the victims of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. In addition, the Bundesliga paid tribute to the victims of a racist terror attack in Hanau.

Footballers wore black armbands as a show of respect during the game between Bayern Munich and Paderborn. Other top-tier Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 teams all condemned the attack and sent their thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families.

Munich Air Disaster

Every year, current and former Manchester United players pay their respects to the victims of the 1958 Munich Air Disaster. A plane crash killed eight Manchester United players, three staff members, and eight sports journalists.

The plane crashed on their way back from a European Cup game against Red Star Belgrade. They are still known as the Flowers of Manchester. Manchester United players, as well as opposing team players, traditionally wear black armbands during games held around the 6th of February, the day of the disaster, as a symbol of keeping the victims’ memories alive.

footballers wear black armbands

Footballers Wear Black Armbands when Tragic Deaths of Individuals Occur 

It is common for players to pay tribute to people who have played an important role in their lives or careers. When one or more of the teammates suffers a tragic death or the loss of someone important in their lives, all of the players show compassion and unity.

Jack Charlton | 1966 World Cup Winner

This year, Premier League clubs paid tribute to 1966 World Cup winner Jack Charlton, who passed away at the age of 85. Players honored the England national team player and national hero by wearing black armbands in his honor.

John Steven Taylor | Blackburn Rovers Supporter

In 2010, Blackburn Rovers commemorated the death of a team fan who died of a head injury while attending a game. John Steven Taylor was a huge Blackburn Rovers fan, and the entire team saw this as a great tragedy for them. Two minutes of silence were observed, and football players wore black armbands during their game against Hull.

Kobe Bryant | NBA Superstar

AC Milan paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, one of the best basketball players of all time and an All-Star legend. Bryant died on Sunday 26th January 2020 alongside his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Kobe Bryant was a known football fan who grew up supporting AC Milan and frequently spoke about his love for the game.

AC Milan showed their respect by wearing black armbands during their Coppa Italia match against Torino. At this game, Torino players also wore black armbands. Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, Lukaku, and Mbappe are among the players who have paid tribute to an NBA legend.

Princess Margaret | Countess of Snowdon

The England national team paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, who died tragically. In 2002, she died of a stroke. In her honor, the English team wore black armbands during their friendly match against the Netherlands in the Amsterdam Arena.

English footballers wore black armbands during the game as a mark of respect for the Queen’s sister.

Why are Footballers Wearing Black Armbands during COVID?

As COVID-19 continues to spread, people from all over the world face this threat. The spread of the coronavirus has already claimed many lives around the world, and it remains a challenge for all of humanity. All those working in medical care, medicine supply, and other sectors in various countries are the ones who are fighting the pandemic tirelessly.

Footballers in Germany’s Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 wore black armbands during their games to pay tribute to those who have died and to express gratitude to medical personnel. Other European leagues followed suit in memory of the COVID-19 victims and to show their support for their medical personnel.

footballers wear black armbands

Do Footballers Wear Black Armbands because of the Black Lives Matter Movement?

Footballers wearing black armbands to convey messages is another common occurrence. We saw this with the Black Lives Matter movement, as this was the message printed on black armbands worn by football players during games.

In this way, they paid their respects to George Floyd, who was killed as a result of police brutality and demonstrated their support for black people’s struggle for justice.


Football, as a sport, values compassion and sympathy among its players. Football players wear black armbands to show their respect after a tragic and unfortunate event occurs, whether it happened to them, people close to them, or anywhere else in the world.

Footballers wearing black armbands are a common symbol of respect for all those they are connected to during a time of grief. It is also a way for people to show solidarity and connect in times of need.

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