Soccer Captain Armband: History and Rules 

Soccer Captain Armband

One of the most common things in football nowadays is that captains of football teams wear an armband whenever taking to the field to play a match. In fact, it looks out of place for the captain of any team not to wear an armband before the start of any game. So why do soccer players wear captain armbands, and when did this tradition start? Why do soccer players wear black armbands? This article provides the answers.

What Is A Soccer Captain’s Armband?

The captain’s armband is a colorful piece of elastic cloth with the word ‘captain’ or the letter ‘C’ written on it. 

This material is normally worn on the upper arm of the captain of a football team. The armband serves as a special form of identifying the captain of a side. 

During a football match, there’s usually a person who is chosen to be the leader of the team on the pitch. The said individual is selected because he might be the most experienced or best player on the team, but whatever the case, it is usually someone who commands the team’s respect. 

This person will then be given the team’s armband to wear. This helps coaches identify who their on-field leaders are and also assists the referees in knowing who to talk to to help maintain discipline on the football pitch. 

Armbands have varied in size, look and feel over the years, but the constant thing with them is that they are always elastic and worn on the arm.

Soccer Captain Armband

Origins and History 

Wearing of captain armbands was never specifically written into the rules of football when the laws governing the beautiful game were being drafted.

 In the early history of football, it wasn’t compulsory for the captain of a team to wear an armband. In fact, if you go back to view some old world cup tournaments, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, you will see footage of team captains without any armbands. 

For instance, England Bobby Moore wasn’t wearing an armband when he lifted the 1966 World Cup trophy after their triumph in the finals. The armband as a convention started in some European countries like Italy.

For example, as far back as 1949, a rule was established that all captains of Serie A clubs should wear armbands. In England, the proverbial home of football, it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that armbands started getting used widely.

The rules governing the FA Cup wear were amended to reflect this disposition. Rule 14d was then drafted, stating, “The Captain of each team shall wear a distinguishing armband provided by The Association to indicate his status.”

In summary, the origin of a soccer captain armband is unknown and there are varying stories on the exact history.

Nonetheless, the introduction of the armband no doubt brought pizzazz and aesthetic value to the game of football. This is a welcome tradition that has become part of the game and is unlikely to ever be removed.

Soccer Captain Armband: Rules

Soccer Captain Armband Rules
(Photo by Ayaka Naito / AFP) (Photo by AYAKA NAITO/AFP via Getty Images)

There are some rules and responsibilities that are associated with whoever wears the captain’s armband, which is usually the team captain.

The soccer player with the armband will participate in the coin toss before the match and before a penalty shootout.

If the soccer captain is being substituted, he must pass the captain’s armband to his vice-captain, who is on the pitch playing.

The soccer captain can appeal to the referee on behalf of his team, but despite this, the captain should not challenge a referee’s call during a play in hopes of reversing the decision.

In a game, a referee may call the captain aside to explain a decision or relay a message to his team.

Furthermore, there is no mandatory color for a soccer captain’s armband. However, the colors have to be team colors, something that stands out against their uniform so it can be easily identified.

What side does the soccer captain’s armband go on?

The soccer captain armband always goes on the left sleeve. When other players in a soccer team decide to wear a black armband, it goes on the right sleeve so as not to confuse it with the captain’s armband, which is typically on the left sleeve.

Why do soccer players wear black armbands?

In some football matches, the entire team will wear a black armband to show mourning or commemoration or to mark tragic occasions. 

For example, after Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died along with four other people after their helicopter crashed outside Leicester City’s ground, Premier League players wore black armbands in the following matchday.

Another example was when Manchester United and Liverpool players wore black armbands in support of Cristiano Ronaldo after his baby died.

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