UEFA stops investigation into German keeper Manuel Neuer's rainbow armband, calling it 'good cause'

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UEFA stopped the investigation into the German Football Association and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the player's wearing of a rainbow captain's armband during matches at Euro 2020 this month, the German FA announced.

UEFA wrote in a letter it determined the armband to be a team symbol for diversity and therefore was for a "good cause."

The Athletic's Adam Crafton and other outlets reported the investigation on Sunday following the country's 4-2 win against Portugal in European Championship group play.

Neuer has worn the armband in support of the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month. He donned it during matches against France and Portugal as well as a friendly against Latvia. UEFA reportedly was investigating the incident because it viewed the rainbow armband as a political symbol.

The organization prohibits "political demonstrations" by players and teams.

Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer wears a rainbow captain's armband in support of the LGBTQ+ community for Pride Month. (Photo by MATTHIAS SCHRADER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The investigation and belief it was political drew criticism in a plethora of areas. For one, soccer fans pointed toward a 2019 tweet by UEFA itself reading, "Proud that EURO2020 will be a tournament for everyone," with the rainbow and hashtag "equalgame."

It followed with a tweet response to someone asking what the point of the tweet was with,

"Unfortunately Jack, there are still lots of people, and many within the LGBTQ community, who don’t feel included or welcome within football. We think it’s important to remind them that they absolutely are. This is everyone’s game."

LGBTQ+ community support has become a talking point specifically at Euro 2020 because of homophobia at games hosted in Hungary. A banner with a message against the community was seen at a match.

The national parliament in Hungary passed legislation last week by a nearly unanimous 157-1 vote that bans the distribution of content in schools it deems promotes homosexuality and gender change.

Chelsea star and Danish national team player Pernille Harder tweeted about the legislation early Sunday and urged UEFA to reconsider moving games to the country.

The Euro 2020 semifinals and final are scheduled to be played at Wembley Stadium in the United Kingdom, but there remains COVID-19 restrictions there that could impact the games.

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