Jordan Henderson’s new Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq accused of removing Pride armband from video

Saudi football club Al-Ettifaq has been accused of editing a promotional video announcing the signing of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, to hide an LGBTQ+ Pride armband he’s wearing in the montage.

The 33-year-old England international made 492 appearances for Liverpool after joining them in 2011 before signing with the Saudi club on Thursday (27 July).

He signed a three-year deal with Al-Ettifaq, where his former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard recently became the manager. Henderson’s salary is rumoured to be close to £350,000 (approximately $450,000) a week.

Jordan Henderson statement

Taking to Instagram after his move was confirmed, Henderson said: “Delighted to announce I’ve signed for @ettifaq. New challenge ahead, can’t wait to get going. Welcome to Saudi Arabia.”

Henderson is well-known for supporting the LGBTQ+ community, whereas Saudi Arabia is hostile towards LGBTQ+ people, with queer folks facing oppression and abuse. 

Al-Ettifaq posted a promotional video on social media announcing the signing, where the former Liverpool captain is referred to as a “leader” and a “warrior”, and said it was “simply thrilled to have him”. They are believed to have paid the Anfield club a fee of about £13 million ($16.7 million).

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The 45-second video talks about how Henderson was a “home-town hero turned into a global star, a leader who inspires his teammates whoever he plays”.

However, fans spotted that the video, which has footage of Henderson in action, shows many of the pictures in colour but grey squares over a section of his arm where his captain armband is, making it impossible to see the rainbow colours.

The few armbands visible in colour are not Pride ones.

A number of supporters expressed disappointment and outrage at the clip.

One said it was “sad”, adding: “You want him, you should take all of him, including his rainbow armband.”

A second fan said: “Making the patch of footage around the armband black-and-white so you can’t see the rainbow is just sickening.”

Another tweet read: “Couldn’t be any more blatant that the rainbow armband has been deliberately made black-and-white. You can remove it from a video, but you’ll never be able to remove the community it represents.”

A similar point was made by a user, who wrote: “Making the armbands black-and-white so you can’t see the rainbow. We see you.”

Others simply posted rainbow or Pride flag emojis.

Jordan Henderson wore rainbow laces during a Premier League match between Liverpool and Southampton in 2021 . (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Numerous accounts shared promotional pictures of Jordan Henderson taking part in Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

In October, he commented on the campaign, saying wearing rainbow colours “sends the powerful message that football is for everyone, and the more of us who can take this message back into our homes, workplaces and daily lives, the better. This kind of visible support can only have a positive impact.”

LGBTQ+ fans previously labelled Henderson’s move: the “ultimate betrayal”.

PinkNews has contacted the Al-Ettifaq FC for comment.