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World Cup 2022: Virgil van Dijk hits again at criticism over OneLove armband row

The Netherlands beat Senegal 2-0 of their World Cup opener on Monday
Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport web site and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull protection particulars

Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk has hit again at criticism accusing European groups on the World Cup of getting no “backbone” after they determined in opposition to sporting the OneLove armband.

The captains of seven international locations, together with England and Wales, deliberate to put on the armband throughout matches to advertise range and inclusion.

But the plans had been dropped due to Fifa’s menace of gamers being booked.

The captains are as an alternative sporting Fifa-approved ‘No 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 kind of tournaments,” Van Dijk advised Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Speaking after the Netherlands’ 2-0 win over Senegal on Monday, the Liverpool centre-back mentioned: “There are people who say we don’t have a backbone, but that’s not how it works.

“We simply need to play soccer. I’d have liked to play with that band, however not on the expense of a yellow card.”

The Netherlands began the OneLove campaign before Euro 2020 to promote diversity and inclusion, and as a message against discrimination.

Same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised 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 booked.

Speaking after the 6-2 opening win over Iran, England skipper Harry Kane mentioned he was “disenchanted” about not being able to wear the armband, while team-mate Jack Grealish said the decision was “a bit silly”.

On Tuesday, Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen said he did not feel comfortable talking about the subject for fear of repercussion.

“If you make an announcement by sporting the armband that will imply punishing your self,” Vertonghen said before his side’s opening World Cup match against Canada on Wednesday.

“I do not really feel comfy, and that’s telling sufficient. We are placed on the spot, and I’m afraid that if I say one thing about this, I won’t be capable of play [on Wednesday] and that could be a scenario I’ve by no means, ever skilled in soccer, and I hope I’ll by no means, ever should expertise once more as a result of it isn’t good.”

Countries confronted with ‘excessive blackmail’

Also on Tuesday, the media director of the German football federation (DFB), Steffen Simon, said the seven nations were faced with “excessive blackmail”, leading them to drop their OneLove armband plans.

He advised German Deutschlandfunk radio: “The event director went to the English workforce and talked about a number of rule violations and threatened huge sporting sanctions with out specifying what these can be.”

Simon mentioned the opposite six groups then determined to “present solidarity” with England.

“We had been in an excessive scenario, in an excessive blackmail and we thought we needed to take that call with out wanting to take action,” he said, later adding: “I can perceive the frustration. We had the selection between the plague and cholera.”

In Germany, supermarket chain Rewe has suspended its advertising deal with the DFB in a bid to distance itself from Fifa.

Rewe had already told the DFB in October it was ending its partnership but has now done so “with instant impact” because of Fifa’s “unacceptable scandalous angle”.

“We get up for range – and soccer can also be range. We stay this place and we defend it,” mentioned Rewe Group chief government Lionel Souque.

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