Toulouse FC released a statement on Sunday stating that “some players of the professional squad have expressed their disagreement regarding the association of their image with the rainbow colors representing the LGBT movement.”
The Ligue 1 team said, “Despite respecting the individual decisions of its players and after several discussions, the Toulouse Football team has decided to withdraw these individuals from the game.
To draw attention to this Wednesday’s International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, teams competing in France’s top two divisions were encouraged to wear rainbow-colored jerseys and raise banners.
However, Moroccan international Zakaria Aboukhlal acknowledged on social media that he “made the decision not to take part in today’s [Sunday’s] game.” Toulouse FC did not identify the players they had omitted.
I want to make it clear that I have the utmost respect for every person, regardless of their preferences, gender, religion, or heritage. This is a fundamental idea that has to be emphasized, Aboukhlal stated.
“I hold the value of respect in the highest regard. It includes respect for my own personal views as well as respect for others. As a result, I don’t think I’m the best candidate to take part in this campaign.
Toulouse, which is now ranked 13th in the league, drew 0-0 with Nantes on Sunday.
Mostafa Mohamed, an Egyptian player for Nantes, offered an explanation of his decision to sit out the game and the campaign on social media on Sunday.
Mohamed tweeted, “I don’t want to dispute at all, but I have to voice my opinion.
“I respect every diversity. I have respect for all convictions and views. This regard is not just for other people but also for my own convictions.
“I was unable to take part in this campaign because of my origins, my culture, and the significance of my views and values. I hope that everyone will be treated with respect and that my decision—as well as my desire not to dispute this—will be honored.
Nantes said in a statement that it has chosen to financially penalize Mohamed for refusing to participate “at a time when FC Nantes is fighting to stay in Ligue 1.”
According to the statement, “FC Nantes and its foundation wish to donate this money to the association SOS Homophobie which fights against homophobia on a daily basis and will be able to put it to good use in order to combat this scourge.”
The threats made against Mostafa Mohamed and his family both before and after the game are also strongly denounced by FC Nantes.