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Jordan Henderson’s Saudi club turns rainbow armband black and white in announcement video 

Fans of the former Liverpool midfielder have been left furious

By Charlotte Manning

Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson's armband turns grey in new video (Image: Twitter/Ettifaq_EN/Getty)

Images of Jordan Henderson donning a rainbow armband while playing for Liverpool have been shaded black and white in promo from his new club Al-Ettifaq FC. 

Henderson, who has been at Liverpool for 12 years, and captained the side in more recent seasons, confirmed the move yesterday (Thursday, July 27). 

But many fans of the player were skeptical over what this would mean for his support for LGBTQ+ people, which has been a key part to his campaigning in recent years. 

The Saudi Arabia-based club unfortunately took no time to wipe out some of his past support for the community. 

“Good luck in Saudi Arabia Jordan, but you have lost the respect of so many people who valued you, and trusted you”

Homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, with other restrictions on women’s rights and more. 

The team tweeted out a video accompanied with the text: “A leader. A warrior. We’re simply thrilled to have him. Henderson is ETTIFAQI.”

One particular image in the montage sees Henderson’s rainbow captain’s armband from a game during Premier League’s LGBTQ solidarity weekend in December 2020 shaded out.  

Other images with him wearing the armband have faced the same treatment in the video. 

 “Captain who sets an example in every training session and every match,” says the text on top of the clip. 

“It is disappointing”

Henderson has been one of the Premier League’s most visible LGBTQ+ allies since expressing his support of Stonewall’s Rainbow Lace campaign in 2021. 

“I do believe when you see something that is clearly wrong and makes another human being feel excluded you should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them,” he wrote at the time. 

Jordan Henderson wearing a rainbow armband
Jordan Henderson has routinely shown his support of the LGBTQ+ community during his Premier League stint (Picture by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The Liverpool club supporters’ board, including representatives from Kop Out – the official LGBT+ Fan Group for Liverpool FC – as well as women’s supporters’ club hit out at the transfer. In a statement they said Henderson caused “hurt and division” with the move. 

They wrote: “Jordan Henderson was a true captain and true leader for Liverpool on and off the pitch. We know he did much to promote inclusion. He stood out as a principled footballer. We are therefore very disappointed by his decision and the hurt and division it has created.

“The very essence of the Liverpool Supporters Board is to be inclusive and ensure all Liverpool fans, whatever their faith, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability can attend and enjoy football.

“That’s what we want for fans, that’s what we want for football. We stand in solidarity with our allies from Kop Outs, Liverpool’s LGBT+ fans’ group.”

Pride in Football, a network of LGBTQ+ fan groups, said in a separate statement: “When you see someone who has been an ally so publicly transfer to a club in a country where LGBT+ people are attacked and imprisoned, it is disappointing.

“Good luck in Saudi Arabia Jordan, but you have lost the respect of so many people who valued you, and trusted you.”