Germany men will follow the women’s national side by wearing the rainbow armband at the Hockey World Cup to highlight inclusivity in the sport.
National coach Andre Henning confirmed that the FIH had given the green light for captain Mats Grambusch to wear the armband in India, following the controversy which had dogged the football World Cup when European nations were given a warning that players could be sanctioned.
Henning said: “I am glad that we as a team are making a joint statement for diversity, openness and diversity and are thus also demonstrating an attitude, especially after the discussions of the past few weeks. It is almost paradoxical that significant parts of sport, which can have an enormous unifying effect, have such great problems integrating minorities.”
At the Tokyo Olympics, Germany women’s captain Nike Lorenz said she was “left on my own” as she mulled over wearing the captain’s armband in rainbow colours.
Lorenz sought more clarity on the rules surrounding the armband and was left unsure of the consequences or if fines will be implemented. The IOC later gave approval.
Henning said making political statements was important for teams to highlight in all sports.
“There have been important and strong campaigns against racism being carried out in stadiums for many years and with good reason,” said Henning. “Are these political statements? For me, the commitment to human rights and equality is an attitude and incidentally – in a certain position as a prominent role model – also an obligation.
“But if that’s the case, that a banner against racism is a political statement, then sport is obviously political. In this context, sport must even be political.
“If gay people, i.e. everyone who has a non-heterosexual orientation, have to hide themselves, especially in sports, and cannot live out their personal identity, then that is nothing less than a disgrace for our sports system. These parts of sport are lagging behind social development. It should be the other way around.”
Henning said that the role model status of international hockey players could make a difference when it comes to making a difference.
Henning said: “If these role models only carry a banner through the stadium when there is applause and everything is as inconsequential as possible, then that is not an attitude, but PR. That’s the reason why certain parts of sport lag miles behind social development. I am all the more proud that Mats and the Honamas are setting an example.”