Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye has been ordered by the French football federation’s ethics board to answer accusations he missed a game to avoid wearing a rainbow jersey in support of the LGBTQI+ movement.
The Senegal international was absent for Saturday’s 4-0 win over Montpellier in Ligue 1 for “personal reasons” rather than injury, according to coach Mauricio Pochettino.
Gueye must “issue a public apology” or say the rumours he refused to take part in French football’s fight against homophobia are “unfounded”, according to a letter seen Wednesday by AFP addressed to the player.
He also missed a match last year on a day dedicated to raising awareness against discrimination.
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“This absence (against Montpellier)… is very widely interpreted as a refusal to participate,” wrote the FFF’s ethics board.
“One of two things, either the hypotheses are unfounded and we invite you to immediately express yourself in order to silence these rumours,” the letter continued.
“Or the rumours are true. In this case we ask you to be aware of the impact of your actions and the very serious error committed.”
“In refusing to take part in this collective initiative you are validating discriminatory behaviour… and not only against the LGBTQI+ community,” it added.
Gueye on Tuesday received the support of Senegal’s President Macky Sall.
“I support Idrissa Gana Gueye. His religious beliefs must be respected,” he wrote on Twitter.
President Sall’s show of support was welcomed by many locals in the Muslim-dominated West African country where being in a same-sex relationship is punishable by up to five years in prison, amid an increase in the arrest and prosecution of LGBTQ community members in recent years.
Meanwhile, #WeareallIdrissa has been trending globally on Twitter and many people have been tweeting in support of the Senegalese football player.
Many of the tweets question how the West appears to want to force their position on LGBTQI+ on others, especially Africans.
Some Africans say the West is trying to push it “down our throats”.