Henderson Joins Al-Ettifaq for Reasons Beyond Money, Highlights Positive Impact on LGBTQ+ Community

Olivier Galego
By Olivier GalegoLast Update: 07 September 2023
Jordan Henderson

The transfer was not financially motivated. Henderson said he had always been a strong advocate of LGBTQ+ rights, but the backlash he received from groups after the move to Saudi Arabia was confirmed led him to reconsider his decision.

When asked about his departure from Barcelona, Neymar said the following: “People will see this club come with loads of money and I’m just gone. But that wasn’t the case at all. People can believe me or not, but in my life and my career, money has never been a motivation. Ever.”

Henderson claimed that his move could be a good thing for the LGBTQ+ community, saying: “It’s just one of those things where it’s like, let’s open up this sport to everyone. It doesn’t matter your race, gender or sexuality. You should be able to play football.”

He explained that his values and viewpoints have not changed since he left Saudi Arabia, nor have most of the people who live there. He added that having someone with those values in Saudi Arabia is only a positive thing.

Not once have they said, “You can do this, you can’t do that.” And I think it can only be a positive thing to try to open up like around Qatar. In the end, around Qatar, having a World Cup there shined a light on certain issues where I think in the end, I might be wrong but they changed some rules and regulations to be able to host the World Cup and I think that’s positive. That’s the way you try to create positive change. And I’m not saying that I can do that but what I’m saying is it’s important for people in positions like myself to try their best because change needs to happen and how else will change happen if not through people like myself?

In addition, Henderson said that Klopp had made it clear that he would have to accept a reduced role if he stayed on.

“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 told me that there were going to be new players coming in my position and that he wasn’t sure how much I would play,” he added.

“If someone had come and said, ‘We want you to stay’ then we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but at no point did I feel wanted by the club or anyone to stay.”