Last updated on March 7th, 2022
You may have seen that all the captains wear armbands while playing the football match.
What is the armband for and why do the captains need to wear it?
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Football captains wear the armband as a form of identification for the referee, the captain’s teammates and the fans. This way, anyone can easily identify the captain.
This is because the captain of the team has added responsibilities compared to other outfield players.
The captain can be any player on the team, even including goalkeepers and defenders.
Captains need to be easily identified
The armband helps anyone to identify the captain right away. Captains usually have extra responsibilities, as outlined by the Laws of the Game:
- Ensure that his teammates’ behaviour is acceptable during the match
- Participate in a coin toss before the start of the match or a penalty shootout
This is because the captain is regarded as the leader of the team.
There are also some other responsibilities of the captain too:
- Leading the team to receive medals
- Lifting any trophies they have won
- Leading the team out of the dressing room at the start of the match
- Ensure that the dressing room is run well
The captain is also a source of inspiration for his teammates and fans, both on and off the pitch. He is seen as a role model that the players should look up to.
As such, the captain’s armband is symbolic to show his importance to the team.
Which arm should a captain’s armband be on?
Most captains wear their armbands on their left arm. This is most likely due to most captains being right-handed. As such, it is easier for them to wear the armband on their left arm.
The captain’s armband is usually worn on the opposite side of the black armband. These black armbands are usually used to commemorate a significant person or event that has previously happened.
There are many designs for the captain’s armband
You may have noticed that some teams have specially designed armbands for their captain. Here are 2 notable examples:
#1 Barcelona captain’s armband
Barcelona has a captain’s armband which depicts the Catalan flag.
This is most likely to show Barcelona’s Catalan roots.
#2 Ajax captain’s armband
Ajax also has a unique captain’s armband. The armband depicts Amsterdam’s state flag.
In this video, Matthijs de Ligt can be seen wearing this very special armband.
There are not many rules governing the captain’s armband
There are no rules that dictate the design of the captain’s armband by the Laws of the Game. The captain’s armband can contain slogans, statements or images.
However, there are some rules governing what can be on the armband:
- No offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
- No gesturing in a provocative, derisory or inflammatory way
- No religious, personal or political statements
The Laws of the Game also leaves it up to each competition to impose more restrictions on the armband’s design. There are some competitions who have done so:
#1 UEFA competitions
All captains are required to have a standardised armband when they are playing in UEFA competitions. For clubs like Barcelona or Ajax with a customised armband, they are unable to use those.
Instead, they will need to wear an armband that has a single colour.
Usually, the armband will come with some slogan, such as:
- Respect (for the referees)
- No to racism
Sometimes, they may just include the team’s crest on the armband.
#2 Premier League
The English Premier League has a standardised armband as well.
It is a very basic white and black armband that contains the Premier League logo and the word ‘Captain’.
#3 Serie A
The Serie A recently made some changes during the 2018/19 season. They wanted to ensure that a standardised armband is worn, just like the Premier League and UEFA competitions.
The armband is also very simplistic, where it has a single-colour band with the Serie A logo and the word ‘CAPITANO’ on it.
The only exception so far has been Fiorentina, where they were allowed to wear their personalised armband. This armband has been used to pay tribute to Davide Astori, who passed away via a cardiac arrest in 2018.
Astori was Fiorentina’s captain and was held in high regard by many players.
Why is there a rainbow captain armband?
Premier League captains showed support for the Rainbow Laces campaign by donning rainbow armbands.
This campaign is organised by Stonewall in December each year. Their main aim is to raise awareness for the LGBT community and make sport more welcoming for them.
As such, the Premier League captains will wear these armbands to show support for this campaign.
The captain’s armband helps everyone to easily identify who the captain is. This is because the captain plays a very important role for the team, such as:
- Ensuring the discipline of his teammates
- Boosting the morale when the players are losing
- Leading the team for certain procedures
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