Paris St-Germain’s Idrissa Gueye refused to play in a match to avoid wearing a rainbow symbol in support of LGBTQ+ rights, BBC Sport understands.
The 32-year-old former Aston Villa and Everton midfielder was absent from Saturday’s 4-0 win over Montpellier and PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino only said Gueye missed the game for “personal reasons”.
According to The AFP news agency, FFF’s ethics board wrote a letter calling on Gueye to explain why he missed Saturday’s game.
The letter calls for him to “issue a public apology” or to say that the rumours he refused to play are “unfounded” adding that if he did refuse to play he would be “validating discriminatory behaviour”.
BBC News reports that Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyate and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr have posted on social media in apparent support of their Senegal team-mate’s stance.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira said if his player had posted in relation to Gueye, he would speak to them. He added:
It’s going to be an in-house conversation.
Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal and punishable by prison sentences of up to five years. Some more African countries also don’t condone homosexuality.
For the second successive season, clubs in France have been invited to mark 17 May’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia by wearing rainbow-design numbers on the back of their shirts.
In addition to missing Saturday’s win over Montpellier, Gueye missed last year’s show of solidarity citing gastroenteritis, according to Le Parisien newspaper.
PSG said on Wednesday that they were “very proud to wear this shirt”.
Senegalese President Macky Sall wrote on Twitter that Gueye’s Muslim beliefs must be respected, while sports minister Matar Ba wrote that Gueye was backed by his country’s people, alongside a picture of the midfielder on pilgrimage to Mecca.