“People say we don’t have a spine” – Van Dijk on OneLove’s arm row
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Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk has hit back at critics accusing European teams at the World Cup of not having a “spine” after they decided not to wear the OneLove armband.
Captains from seven countries, including England and Wales, planned to wear the armband during matches to promote diversity and inclusion.
But the plans were abandoned due to FIFA’s threat of warning players.
Instead, captains wear FIFA-approved “Non-discrimination” armbands.
“I play in a position where a yellow card is not useful. I became a football player and I want to play these kinds of tournaments,” Van Dijk told Dutch broadcaster NOS.
Speaking after the Netherlands 2-0 victory in Senegal On Monday, the Liverpool centre-back said: “Some people say we have no backbone, but it doesn’t work that way.
“We just want to play football. I would have loved to play with this side, but not at the cost of a yellow card.”
The Netherlands launched the OneLove campaign ahead of Euro 2020 to promote diversity and inclusion, and as a message against discrimination.
Same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalized in Qatar.
In a statement on Monday, the seven European nations – also including Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland – said they were willing to pay fines for their captains wearing the armband, but could not put their players at risk of being cautioned
Speaking after the First win by 6-2 against IranEngland skipper Harry Kane said he was “disappointed” not to be able to wear the armband, while team-mate Jack Grealish said the decision was “a bit stupid”.
Countries facing “extreme blackmail”
On Tuesday, German football federation (DFB) media director Steffen Simon said the Seven Nations were facing “extreme blackmail”, prompting them to abandon their OneLove armband plans.
He told German radio Deutschlandfunk: “The tournament director went to the English team and talked about multiple violations of the rules and threatened massive sporting sanctions without specifying what they would be.”
Simon said the other six teams then decided to “show solidarity” with England.
“We were in an extreme situation, in extreme blackmail and we thought we had to make this decision without wanting it,” he said, before adding: “I can understand the disappointment. We had the choice between plague and cholera. .”
In Germany, supermarket chain Rewe has suspended its advertising deal with the DFB in an attempt to distance itself from Fifa.
Rewe had already told the DFB in October that he was ending his association, but has now done so “with immediate effect” due to the “unacceptable scandalous attitude of FIFA”.
“We defend diversity, and football is also diversity. We live this position and defend it,” said Lionel Souque, CEO of Rewe Group.
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