Senegalese show support to Idrissa Gueye after homophobia accusations

May 18, 2022

PARIS — Senegal's President Macky Sall on Tuesday tweeted his support for Paris Saint-Germain footballer Idrissa Gana Gueye, who is facing homophobia accusations in France.

"I support Idrissa Gana Gueye. His religious beliefs must be respected," he wrote on Twitter.

The Senegalese international midfielder missed a Ligue 1 game against Montpellier Saturday during which players were to wear rainbow jerseys in support of the LGBTQ movement. He was absent for "personal reasons" rather than injury, according to coach Mauricio Pochettino.

That prompted radio station RMC to posit that he had deliberately avoided the game so as not to wear the shirt.

Messages of support for Gueye have poured in on social media and from leading figures in politics, the arts and sport.

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.

"Hang in there, Gainde," 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.

In Senegal, people have been posting the president's tweet and photos of Gueye on a pilgrimage to Makkah on WhatsApp.

"He pulled this stunt last year," said Bertrand Lambert, the president of Panam Boyz and Girlz United, a Paris-based football club with a focus on inclusivity and diversity. "There's no doubt about his intentions."

Gueye blamed gastroenteritis for his absence from the event last year. — Agencies

May 18, 2022
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