Wolfsburg captain wears rainbow armband in fight against homophobia

Berlin (AFP) –


Wolfsburg captain Josuha Guilavogui wore a rainbow-coloured armband on Saturday for the first time as part of the Bundesliga club's efforts to fight homophobia in football.

The 27-year-old French midfielder led Wolfsburg to a shock 2-1 win over Schalke, last season's runners-up in Germany's top flight, as the rainbow armband made it's debut in a German league match.

It is part of a club initiative started in the womens team by Swedish international Nilla Fischer.

"As a club we stand for a tolerant society," explained Wolfsburg's general manager Joerg Schmadtke.

"That's why we're not only taking this stance against discrimination now, but across the whole season and in all of our teams, sending out a clear signal that we stand for diversity."

The captains of all Wolfsburg's mens, womens and youth teams will wear the rainbow armbands during matches and Guilavogui says footballers have a duty as role models.

"We footballers serve as an example and we want to show that everyone is welcome in the stadium and in the club," said the Frenchman.

"Regardless of your skin colour or sex, who you like or if you have a physical disability and whatever your religion.

"Football is for everyone."

However, homosexuality in men's football remains largely taboo.

Former West Ham, Everton, Aston Villa and Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, who retired in 2013, was the first -- and so far only -- Bundesliga footballer to come out in 2014.