"I'm not welcome" - Jill Scott slams Jordan Henderson over Saudi Arabia transfer
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Jill Scott was critical of Jordan Henderson over the England star’s move to Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq.
But the move has garnered significant criticism, especially from supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, because of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
Indeed, Henderson, a historically vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, secured the transfer despite Saudi Arabia deeming homosexuality a crime punishable by the death penalty.
And Scott, 36, pointed out that she would not be welcome at Al Ettifaq’s stadium because she is openly gay.
While working as a pundit for Channel 4 before England's game against Ukraine, which Henderson started, Scott said: “I’m a Jordan Henderson fan but now I know I wouldn’t be welcome if I wanted to watch him play football.”
Despite the barrage of criticism aimed at Henderson since his move this summer, the 33-year-old has insisted that the transfer to Saudi Arabia can help those who face discrimination in the country.
In an interview with the Athletic, published this week, Henderson said: "I think having someone with those views and values in Saudi Arabia is only a positive thing.
"Not once have they said, 'You can do this, you can’t do this'. 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. I’m one person."
Scott has become the latest figure in football to criticise Henderson. Indeed, fellow pundit Chris Sutton insisted that the ex-Liverpool skipper only made the move to Saudi Arabia for money.
Sutton told the Mail Online's It's All Coming Up podcast: "So, you know he went off to Saudi for the money, didn't he? That's essentially it. I don't know why he just doesn't stick to that and just say that.
"You know, a couple of years ago had Jordan Henderson being questioned about the possibility of going to Saudi Arabia when the league was up and running, we know that he wouldn't have had any interest.
"The only interest going to Saudi Arabia is for people to earn huge amounts of money. And do you know what? That's OK. But just say it, you know, don't get involved in arguments about culture, you know, and other people are burying their heads in the sand.
"The only person who's burying the head somewhere is Jordan Henderson and that's somewhere which you know he shouldn't be burying his head at the minute.”