Toulouse players left out after refusing to take part in rainbow campaign

Toulouse players left out after refusing to take part in rainbow campaign
epa10599200 Toulouse FC players celebrate after winning the Coupe de France final soccer match between FC Nantes and Toulouse FC, in Saint-Denis, France, 29 April 2023. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

May 14 (Reuters) - Several Toulouse players were withdrawn from the squad for Sunday's Ligue 1 game against Nantes after they refused to have their names associated with a league-wide gesture of support against homophobia, the club said.

“Some players from the professional squad have expressed their disagreement with the association of their image with the rainbow colours representing the LGBT movement,” Toulouse said in a statement.

“While respecting the individual choices of its players, and after numerous exchanges, Toulouse Football Club has chosen to leave the said players out of the match.”

Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 players were asked this weekend to wear rainbow-coloured numbers on their shirts as a gesture of support ahead of Wednesday’s International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Toulouse and Morocco defender Zakaria Aboukhlal said he did not want to take part in the game.

“I have made the decision not to take part in today’s game,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Respect is a value that I hold in great esteem. It extends to others, but it also encompasses respect for my own personal beliefs.

“Hence, I don’t believe I am the most suitable person to participate in this campaign.”

Stade Brestois coach Eric Roy said the campaign should not have been held as the season wraps up, arguing that some players not taking part in it could play a decisive role as their clubs fight to avoid relegation.

“The programming of this day against homophobia is catastrophic,” Roy said after 15th-placed Brest beat fellow strugglers AJ Auxerre on Sunday.

“You can see that there are players who have a problem with it. Everyone is free to express their opinions. Personally, I have no problem with it. But there are players who may have a problem with it.

“Then you should not schedule this campaign at that time when you know some players are fighting to avoid relegation. You could do it in December, September.”


(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Andrew Johnson says:

    What about ” no politics in sport”? Surely these guys have a right to their own beliefs and not beholden to woke administrators.

  • Peter Doble says:

    “Respect is a value that I hold in great esteem. It extends to others, but it also encompasses respect for my own personal beliefs.“ What a brilliant quote from Aboukhlal. We have spawned an era where every person is being forced to acknowledge and accept issues with which they may not agree. The world is being choked by incipient wokeness – drip fed through the media. Cancel culture, un-writing literature, debasing humour, erasing history, artificially adapting racial and gender balances, imposing religious and political beliefs and enforcing the acceptance of sexual orientation. This Orwellian scenario of mind manipulation is abhorrent. As Aristotle says “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

  • Denzil Williams says:

    I fully agree. You should be concentrating on winning the game whichever sport it may be

  • mddraper1507 says:

    I am glad that somebody is taking a stand against this WOKEness. Each to his own don’t force your beliefs on others…..

  • Agf Agf says:

    Good for him. This left wing Woke campaign has to stop. Go woke. Go broke. And the mainstream media is part of it.

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