Jordan Henderson, former captain of Liverpool club in England joined the Saudi Arabian club of Al Ettifaq last July. His transfer sparked controversies among the LGBTQ group in England and elsewhere.
In a talk with local media, Jordan Henderson replied to critics, explaining about his choice to sign with a Saudi Arabian football team. Henderson expressed regret for the harm he might have done to the LGBTQ society.
Henderson transferred from Liverpool to Saudi Pro League team Al Ettifaq two months ago on a three-year agreement. He has traditionally supported the LGBTQ group, so the move to Saudi Arabia, where these tendencies are banned and punished gave rise to the controversy.
Henderson said he can appreciate the frustration and the rage. He said his is sorry about that situation in an article that appeared on Tuesday. “Now when I was making the decision, the way that I tried to look at it was I felt as though, by myself not going, we can all bury our heads in the sand and criticize different cultures and different countries from afar,” he added.
Henderson is a member of the England team that will play against Ukraine in a Euro 2024 qualifying match this week. He’ll then go to Scotland for a friendly days later.
An English LGBTQ organization said in an announcement that they will no longer applaud Henderson’s title or display a poster with him as a result of his move to Saudi Arabia. Some of them suggested that they may abandon the field.
Henderson was asked to “stand by your words as a professed ally & champion of #LGBT+ rights, of women’s rights” by Liverpool’s LGBTQ+ support organization Kop Outs after he decided to transfer to Saudi Arabia. The British footballer said that the reproach had harmed him.
When promoting Henderson’s debut on social media, Al Ettifaq’s decision to conceal his support for the LGBTQ cause by graying out his rainbow wristband on a photo of the player drew harsh criticism.
Henderson stated that he wouldn’t exclude continuing to wear his rainbow laces. In the meantime, however, disrespecting Saudi Arabia’s cultural and religious heritage is something he would never do.
Many Liverpool supporters were startled by the captain’s choice to depart the team after twelve years. Henderson, though, believed manager Jurgen Klopp’s ideas no longer required him to be an integral component. “There were a few things that sent alarm bells ringing. I’ve got a very good relationship with Jurgen. He was very honest with me,” he stressed.
Since the talks were confidential, he didn’t elaborate, but the condition put seemingly put him in a situation that he was not sure about his future career in Liverpool. He was already aware that young generation of players will be entering the squad.
Henderson disputed that the financial incentive offered was the primary factor in his decision to join Saudi Arabian club. “People might believe me or not, but money has never been a motivator in my life or my profession. Ever. Don’t get me wrong, the business arrangement needs to be tight when you relocate.”
Henderson reiterated his idea that feeling valued and wanted in the team is the top issue in deciding to remain in a team or leaving it. Money can never be neglected, he emphasized, but there have been other decisive factors.