« The Gueye case is indicative of an underlying homophobia in football »

Idrissa Gueye is at the heart of the controversy. Announced in the Paris Saint-Germain group for the trip to Montpellier last Saturday, but ultimately not listed on the match sheet for this 37th day of Ligue 1, the Parisian midfielder would have refused to participate in the day against homophobia organized by the Professional Football League (LFP) in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Senegalese international would have notably refused to wear the jersey with the rainbow flocking adopted by all the teams for this day of the championship. Ouissem Belgacem, former homosexual football player and author of the book « Farewell my shame », regrets this decision and points to the responsibility of the authorities and the clubs in the normalization of these behaviors.

“Investing in education and training”

What was your reaction when you learned of the boycott of the day against homophobia by Idrissa Gueye?

If true, I first find that it shows the limits of this rainbow day. I already said this last year. For me, it’s a good idea in terms of communication to wear flocked football shirts in rainbow colors. But I’m not sure it causes awareness among players, coaches and the public. I know players in France, in England who wear the colors because their clubs ask for it, not because they believe in it.

Isn’t the timing of this initiative, organized at the very end of the championship, also problematic?

For the League, the fight against homophobia seems to be just a checkbox. All the money they put into mobilizing clubs and players on the day, flocking shirts, I would put a hundred times more into the education and training of players. There, we have the example of Idrissa Gueye, but there are many more Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 players in reality who are against this initiative.

« I would not allow myself to tax him as a homophobe »

Religious reasons are said to explain his decision. You Muslim yourself, how do you view this justification?

Religious justification annoys me. I’m muslim too. When I see that, I just say to myself that it’s crazy how much you can live your religion completely differently. Religion is supposed above all to advocate tolerance, peace, love of neighbor, with the great precept that says that “only god can judge”. It is as a human being that he is disappointing. The fight against injustice should bind us all. We don’t ask him to open gay pride or to be pro-gay… He just doesn’t want to mobilize for this cause. I wouldn’t allow myself to call him a homophobe.

What is the responsibility of the governing bodies of French football?

Of course, if Gueye’s absence is really linked to the day against homophobia, I am extremely disappointed with his decision. But he remains a player. I want more from the club and the governing bodies. In any job, companies organize an interview to ensure that the future employee respects his values. There, we realize that the clubs pretend to give importance to this issue by tweeting from time to time. But they have to sweep in front of their homes because their own employees are sullying the values ​​of sport. How in the leading club of Ligue 1, the club of the city which will host the Olympics in 2024, can we have flagship employees who refuse to invest against homophobia?

READ ALSO. PSG. « Homophobia is not an opinion but a crime »: reactions after the Gueye affair

What solutions do you offer?

You have to educate. And to educate is to repeat. But nobody wants to put their hands in this subject. The Gueye case is still revealing of an underlying homophobia in football, it is the blind spot of discrimination. Training programs should be imposed on pro players. Why don’t we ask Idrissa Gueye to spend time with an LGBT association? He might understand that they are no different.

PSG. Ouissem Belgacem: « The Gueye case is indicative of an underlying homophobia in football »

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