Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Idrissa Joy The French Football Federation asked him why he missed a match in which players wore rainbow-numbered jerseys to denounce anti-gay discrimination.
A person familiar with the incident told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Gaye did not play because he did not want to wear a rainbow number on his shirt. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Gueye had not commented publicly on the incident.
The Federation’s Ethics Board sent Gueye a letter, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, urging him to explain why he missed Saturday’s game.
The board said that if the reports were incorrect, the Senegalese player could take a picture of himself wearing the jersey.
“Your absence has led to many speculations that have been widely interpreted as a refusal to participate in this process to raise awareness of anti-discrimination,” council president Patrick Anton wrote.
Gueye traveled with his teammates to Montpellier for the match, but PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino cited “personal reasons” to justify Gueye’s absence from the field.
Anton wrote: “Either these assumptions are unfounded, in which case we ask you to express yourself without delay in order to stop these rumors.” We invite you, for example, to attach to your message a photo of yourself wearing the jersey in question.
“Or these rumours [reports] “Right,” he continued. “And in that case, we ask you to assess the impact of your actions and the grave wrong you have committed. Combating discrimination against different minorities is a vital and enduring battle. Whether it is skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, or any other differences, all Discrimination based on the same grounds – rejection of others.”
For the second consecutive season, French clubs have been invited to label their jerseys with colorful numbers of the rainbow flag, the symbol of the LGBTQIA+ movement.
Gaye also missed a tie match in May last season.
By refusing to participate in this process, you are endorsing discriminatory behaviour [and] Anton continued, “The rejection of others, not just those in the LGBTQ+ movement.” The impact of football on society and the way players are role models for those who admire them give us all a personal sense of responsibility. We hope this letter will make you aware of the fact that you need to clarify your position, or to make up for it.”
The case quickly became a political issue in Senegal and France.
Senegalese President Macky Sall tweeted his support for Guy.
Abdel Mbaye, the former Senegalese prime minister, also threw his support for Gueye, saying the PSG player “is not homophobic. He does not want his image to be used to promote homosexuality. Leave him alone”.
Same-sex relations are a crime in Senegal and can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Valerie Pecresse, the conservative candidate in last month’s French presidential election, joined Guy’s criticism.
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