This would be an “individual player choice”. Like last year, Idrissa Gueye did not play on Saturday during the day dedicated to the fight against homophobia, a new defection which attracted criticism in France, but also support in his country, Senegal. The absence of Idrissa Gueye against Montpellier (4-0) on Saturday did not go unnoticed in France, where, for four years, championship players have joined the fight against homophobia in sporting a rainbow jersey. If the player’s entourage, contacted by AFP, refused to explain the reasons for this absence, they are however clear for associations fighting against homophobia.
“He had already done it last year. There is little doubt about his intentions, “explains Bertrand Lambert, president of Panam Boyz and Girlz United, a club open to diversity. Idrissa Gueye also did not play last year, citing gastroenteritis. On Saturday, Paris SG coach Mauricio Pochettino spoke of “personal reasons”, stating that his player “was not injured”. A source close to the locker room speaks of “individual choice of the player, he put himself aside”.
“I regret that he did not participate in this day which is not a promotion of homosexuality, but a promotion of living together,” said Bertrand Lambert. “And in the same way that wearing an armband to fight racism doesn’t change the skin color of the wearer, wearing a rainbow jersey doesn’t change their sexuality. It just helps break down prejudices. “Homophobia is not an opinion, but a crime,” recalled the Rouge Direct collective on Twitter, which fights against homophobia in sport. “The LFP (League) and PSG must ask Gana Gueye to explain himself and very quickly. And punish him if necessary. »
The case has even reached the political sphere. The Minister for Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, judged, “personally”, “regrettable that he did not want to play” with this jersey, she told Le Parisien. “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. A refusal by Idrissa Gana Gueye to join the fight against homophobia could not remain without sanction! posted on Twitter Valérie Pécresse, former candidate for the presidential election.
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. A refusal by Idrissa Gana Gueye to join the fight against homophobia could not remain without sanction! @PSG_inside https://t.co/LtAR2O3gy9
Contacted by AFP, PSG recalls being “completely committed to the fight against homophobia and discrimination, with Sportitude or SOS Racisme. Our players wore this jersey with pride, the biggest stars, Messi, Neymar or Mbappé, expressing the commitment of the club”. But on the other hand, radio silence on the Gueye case. Will he be punished? Can it be? It seems difficult to imagine the club sanctioning the player, who could then find himself in a complex legal situation in terms of labor law.
The LFP, contacted by AFP, “does not wish to comment” on the incident and recalls its “fundamental work in this area for four years”, such as “the organization of awareness workshops on homophobia in clubs and training centers”. “Tuesday, an auction is organized with the sales of these jerseys for the benefit of LGBT associations”, it was specified. Bertrand Lambert “regrets that there is no reaction at the highest level of the State, PSG and football authorities. That said, we must not forget that what happened this weekend is quite marginal since there is only one who refused. »
In 2019, several players refused to wear a rainbow armband. “There is still resistance, but it is progressing”, sums up Bertrand Lambert. In Senegal, where Gueye and his colleagues in the selection are adored, many supports for the PSG player have been posted on social networks. In this 95% Muslim and very practicing country, homosexuality, punishable by a sentence of one to five years in prison, is widely considered as deviance. Writer El Hamidou Kassé said on Twitter that he supports Gueye “in the name of the principle of free belief and respect for differences”.
The Y is fed up movement, active in particular in the defense of democracy, “vigorously denounces this demonization of which he (Gueye) is a victim”, in a press release. He calls on “the Ministry of Sports and the Senegalese Football Federation to provide official support to Gana in these difficult times”.
In the name of the principle of free belief and respect for differences, I support Gana Gueye. What does Ms. Valérie Pecresse rely on to ask for sanctions against the Senegalese professional? Sport must unite, and for this, divisive subjects must be avoided. pic.twitter.com/Oj3V3QsaGS