The refusal by several players to wear a jersey with rainbow flocking in support of LGBTQ + in Ligue 1 this weekend was described Monday as “anachronistic” by government spokesman Olivier Véran and earned a sanction Nantes Mostafa Mohamed.
In an open letter to the players who refused to wear the jersey against homophobia, the National Ethics Council (CNE) for its part underlined the “seriousness of their behavior and the error which is theirs” and calls for “putting aside certain personal convictions”. The body of the French Football Federation (FFF) will not, however, seize the disciplinary committee.
On the occasion of the annual campaign “Gay or straight, we all wear the same shirt”, all players of the first and second divisions were invited this weekend to wear a flocked shirt in the colors of the rainbow. , which also adorned the armbands of the captains.
The campaign was respected by the vast majority of players, whose shirts are to be auctioned off for the benefit of the Foot Ensemble, PanamBoyz & Girlz United and SOS Homophobia associations.
But players from Toulouse, Nantes or Guingamp refused to play, reigniting the controversies sparked last year already by PSG player Idrissa Gana Gueye.
“It sucks. I was reading an article earlier where someone, a coach I believe, said that homophobia was an opinion: no, it’s a crime,” said Minister Olivier Véran on the set of France2 Monday morning.
“It’s anachronistic: we live in a time today (…) where everyone is free to love themselves as they wish,” he added.
On Monday, FC Nantes, which is fighting to stay in L1, announced in a press release that it was going to sanction “financially but not sportingly” its player Mostafa Mohamed, who will therefore be able to play on Saturday against Montpellier for the 36th day.
FC Nantes does not specify the amount of the financial penalty which will be imposed on the player but specifies that “this money will be paid to the association Sos Homophobia”.
– “Accomplices of homophobic behavior” –
On the night of Sunday to Monday, the Egyptian striker, of Muslim faith, had explained his choice in a message published on social networks. “I do not wish to argue at all but I have to express my position (…) I respect all differences. I respect all beliefs and all convictions. This respect extends to others but also includes the respect for my personal beliefs,” he wrote.
“Given my roots, my culture, the importance of my convictions and beliefs, it was not possible for me to participate in this campaign. I hope that my decision will be respected”, continues Mostafa Mohamed, who would have received ” threats” issued against him and that of his family, also explains his club.
Sunday evening, the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra had estimated in Stade 2 that it was “the responsibility of the clubs, with a dialogue with their players, to take sanctions”.
For the National Ethics Council (CNE), “even if they are not aware of it, (these players) are complicit in homophobic behavior”.
However, “the individual behavior of a few should not overshadow the success of this initiative”, is it added in the open letter, concluding that the refusals of a few “demonstrate to what extent it is still essential to change the mentalities”.