Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira will speak with midfielder after he appeared to post a message of support for Senegal international who allegedly refused to play for PSG last weekend because their shirts displayed an anti-homophobia symbol
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira plans to speak with Cheikou Kouyate after the midfielder publicly supported Idrissa Gueye for allegedly refusing to wear a kit displaying rainbow colours last week.
The Paris Saint-Germain player, an international team-mate of Kouyate with Senegal, did not feature in last Saturday’s 4-0 win away to Montpellier when his team-mates wore a kit showing solidarity for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino, who wore a rainbow armband in the dugout, said Gueye was absent due to “personal reasons” but it has since been widely reported in the French media that Gueye, a devout Muslim, did not want to wear the shirt.
That has led to waves of backlash and support for the 32-year-old, who spent three years at Everton and one with Aston Villa. In a post on Instagram, Kouyate said Gueye was “a real man”, adding “we wholeheartedly support you brother.”
Asked about Kouyate’s post in his press conference to preview tomorrow’s Premier League fixture away to Everton Vieira said: “If this is the case, I will speak to Cheikhou. It will be an in-house discussion.”
Watford’s winger Ismaila Sarr also aired his support for Gueye on Instagram. Asked about the post, Watford said that the club is committed to equality and diversity, and “this includes the willingness to offer further education and support to any of its employees.”
Gueye’s PSG team-mate Abdou Diallo and compatriot Kalidou Koulibaly, a centre back for Napoli, also used social media to support him. Gueye has also received widespread backing in his home country, including from the president Macky Sall. Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal and punishable by a jail sentence.
The French FA’s ethics board has sent a letter to PSG asking for Gueye to explain why he missed Saturday’s game, according to AFP, and if he did not play owing to the kit he would have to apologise because it would be “validating discriminatory behaviour”.
He also missed last year’s game designated to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, citing stomach issues as the cause. A hashtag supporting Gueye has had used more than 200,000 times on Twitter.
The Gueye story comes in the week that Blackpool forward Jake Daniels became the first openly gay male player in England for more than 30 years.
Vieira, commenting on the 17-year-old’s decision to discuss his sexuality, said: “Football is not different from our society. I believe we’re in a better place than 30 years ago and it’s difficult to put football inside a box as it’s reflective of our society. Education is based in respecting each other. The power of the game allows us to educate the majority of people. We can use football to promote education and there’s still a lot to do.”