Senegalese midfielder and Paris Saint-German player Idrissa Gana Gueye came under fire for skipping a game to support an anti-homophobia campaign.
Idrissa Gueye, a midfielder for Paris Saint-Germain, allegedly refused to wear the shirt with the colours of the LGTBI+ flag that the Parisian squad wore against Montpellier last Saturday.
On the occasion of the World Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is observed on May 17, all of the players, including Leo Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Achraf Hakimi, and Sergio Ramos, wore rainbow-coloured jerseys.
According to France Info, Gueye, 32, watched the game from the stands after being dismissed from the squad he was originally named to.
According to Le Parisien, the reason for his refusal to join the cause could be “religious convictions.” “Several teammates on the PSG trip were concerned and saddened” by the rejection.
According to French media reports, Mauricio Pochettino claimed that the player had no physical problems, but that he did not play the match because of “a personal issue,” which did not sit well with the Argentine coach.
Officially, PSG declined to comment, but insiders told EFE that “the club and its players, notably its stars, are very happy to wear that shirt.”
Gueye wore a similar outfit last season to avoid a match in which PSG supported the LGTBI+ campaign since he was suffering from gastroenteritis.
Valerie Pecresse, the head of the Ile-de-France region, where Paris St-German is located, has condemned the footballer’s behaviour and urged for consequences.
“The players of a football club, and those of PSG in particular, are figures of identification for our young people, they have a duty to set an example. Idrissa Gana Gueye‘s refusal to join the fight against homophobia must not go unpunished,” she said. Rouge Direct, a group dedicated to combating homophobia in sports, has also urged for action against the footballer.
“Homophobia is not an opinion but a crime. The LFP and PSG must ask Gueye for explanations and very quickly. And sanction him if necessary,” they said.
Gueye has received messages of support on social media and from prominent individuals in politics, the arts, and sports in his country. Senegal’s President Macky Sall on Tuesday tweeted his support for the player. He wrote, “I support Idrissa Gana Gueye. His religious beliefs must be respected.”
Senegal’s Sports Minister Matar Ba in a statement on Monday night said: “When you sign (with a club), it’s to play football. It’s not to promote anything or put aside your beliefs.”
Former Prime Minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne encouraged Gueye on Twitter with the caption “Hang in there, Grande,” he wrote on Tuesday, using the Wolof word for lion — a nickname for the national team’s players — in a post accompanied by Koran verses.
Boubacar Boris Diop, a writer who won this year’s prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature, expressed his “total solidarity with Idrissa Gana Gueye” on Twitter.