‘One Love’ bandage: Virgil van Dijk comments on the withdrawal
Virgil van Dijk was among the captains who originally wanted to wear the ‘One Love’ armband at the 2022 World Cup before pressure from FIFA backed down from the plan. After the opening game of the Netherlands, the defense chief spoke about the action.
Virgil van Dijk was one of the captains who actually wanted to wear the ‘One Love’ armband at the 2022 World Cup before they backed off from the project under pressure from FIFA. After the opening game of the Netherlands, the defense chief spoke about the action.
In the past few days, those responsible for several World Cup participants had widely stated that their captains at the tournament in Qatar will definitely wear the symbolic ‘One Love’ captain’s armband. A penalty would also be accepted, as DFB President Bernd Neuendorf had said.
Shortly before the start of the second day of the tournament, however, these announcements were already wasted. Nations like Germany, England and the Netherlands announced in a joint declaration that they are now backing down – because the FIFA apparently made threats behind the scenes. “It was a clear threat against us because we were threatened with sporting sanctions. It was an unprecedented demonstration of power by FIFA. We don’t want to fight this fight on the backs of our players,” explained Neuendorf.
None of the players concerned initially commented – Virgil van Dijk was the first player to comment on the withdrawal after the Dutch 2-0 win against Senegal.
Asked if he hadn’t considered wearing the ‘One Love’ armband against all odds, the Liverpool star replied in no uncertain terms: “No! I’m a player you don’t see with a yellow card I stand for a political statement,” said the 31-year-old, “but I’m a soccer player. I want to play these tournaments!” At the same time, he made it clear where his priority lies.
“People say I’m spineless, but that’s not the case,” defended van Dijk. “We just want to play football. Lots of opinions? You can’t prevent that. I would have played with the armband – but not if I was penalized with a yellow card.”
Noisy sky-information might not only have threatened a yellow card, but it could possibly also have been a subsequent game suspension.
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This article was originally published on 90min.de as ‘One Love’ bandage: Virgil van Dijk comments on the withdrawal released.