Premier League & EFL players to wear black armbands in Pele's honour

The Premier League's next round begins with two matches on Friday and concludes on Sunday, with all 10 games paying tribute.
Brazil football legend Pele
Brazil football legend Pele

LONDON: Premier League and English Football League clubs will wear black armbands and hold a minute's applause to honour Brazil football legend Pele.

The three-time World Cup winner Pele passed away on Thursday at the age of 82 after losing a long battle against cancer. Tributes have poured in for the legendary footballer from across the world and Brazil has declared three days of national mourning.

The Premier League's next round begins with two matches on Friday and concludes on Sunday, with all 10 games paying tribute.

''In tribute to Pele, Premier League clubs will remember his contribution to football at matches taking place from Friday 30 December-Sunday 1 January (Matchweek 18) by holding a minute's applause prior to kick-offs. Players and match officials will wear black armbands," the league said in a statement.

On the other hand, the EFL said it would hold a minute's applause before EFL fixtures on Friday and on January 1 and 2.

"In memory of the life of Pel?, there will be a minute's applause before EFL fixtures today and on 1 and 2 January, while players will wear black armbands," it said.

Meanwhile, football's world governing body FIFA has lowered flags at its headquarters in Switzerland to half-mast for Pele "as a symbol of mourning and respect".

Apart from leagues and governing bodies, the managers also paid respect, with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola saying Pele made football "a better place" for his ability to give people an emotional connection to the sport.

"There's not another show or event that can produce this type of emotion. It's part of what these exceptional players do," Guardiola said.

"Football is football for these types of people. Before number 10 was just a great number and after him it became something special. Every top player wanted to wear number 10 in their team. What he has done for football is there and always will remain," he said.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe hailed the Brazil great as an "absolute giant" of football.

"In my era, you grew up knowing of Pele, thinking of him as the best player the world had ever seen at that moment," Howe said.

"It's very, very sad. Whenever an icon passes away, it's a very sad moment for football. Seeing the reaction of everybody, media, everyone connected with football, he's certainly well remembered around the world," he added.

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