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Virgil van Dijk explains why he didn’t wear the rainbow armband

van dijk rainbow armband

It wasn’t a backbone issue, apparently.

Virgil van Dijk has explained his reasoning for not wearing the rainbow armband against Senegal, after FIFA said that players would be booked if they were to do so.

After a number of European countries promised to wear the rainbow armband to show support and solidarity with LGBTQ+ people around the world, they all decided not to do so after FIFA made it clear they would be punished on the pitch.

Van Dijk said that because of his position as a central defender, and the way that he plays football in general, being on a yellow card would impact him too much.

Virgil van Dijk on rainbow armband situation

He said: “I play in a position where a yellow card is not useful. I became a football player and I want to play these kind of tournaments.

“There are people who say we don’t have a backbone, but that’s not how it works,” the Liverpool defender added.

“We just want to play football. I would have loved to play with that band, but not at the expense of a yellow card.”

The Netherlands won their game 2-0 against Senegal, with Van Dijk keeping a clean sheet and not picking up a yellow card either.

Meanwhile, England international Jack Grealish said that it was “a bit stupid” that his captain Harry Kane didn’t wear the armband during their 6-2 win against Iran.

Kane faced a backlash for refusing to wear the armband, as he said before the game that he would have been willing to wear it before the game, but clearly changed his mind when he learned that there would be on-pitch repercussions.

Roy Keane spoke very eloquently about the entire situation, insisting the players should have been willing to take a yellow card in order to take a stand. More on that here. 

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