Idrissa Gueye: why did Senegal footballer refuse to wear a PSG shirt featuring a rainbow symbol - and reaction

The Senegalese footballer appears to have refused to show support for LGBTQ+ rights.

The Paris St-Germain midfielder Idrissa Gueye recently refused to play a match for his club to avoid wearing a rainbow symbol, according to reports.

RMC Sport report that the 32-year-old Senagalese international was absent from PSG’s 4-0 win over Montpellier on Saturday evening and subsequently avoided wearing a shirt that would demonstrate support of LGBTQ+ rights.

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His manager, Mauricio Pochettino said that Gueye was unavailable for the match for ‘personal reasons’.

As it emerged that the former Aston Villa midfielder missed that game because of the required atire, the French Football Federation have reportedly written to Gueye in order for him to clarify his absence.

Reports claiming Gueye missed the match to avoid supporting LGBTQ+ rights come just a few hours after Blackpool’s Jake Daniels became the UK’s first current male footballer to come out as gay since 1990.

Homosexuality is illegal in Gueye’s native Senegal and can be punishable by prison sentences of up to five years.

Who is Idrissa Gueye?

Gueye was born in Dakar, Senegal, and has played for Diambars, Lille, Aston Villa, and Everton before he signed with the Parisian Giants for £30m in 2019.

The 32-year-old defensive midfielder is a practicing Muslim and has received supportive messages as a result of his absense from PSG’s match, including from his country’s president, Macky Sall.

Gueye and Kouyate celebrate victory in 2018 World Cup - the two both played in AFCON earlier this year

The Sengalese player featured heavily in his country’s first ever win at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

Gueye is known for his ball-winning skills as well as his ability to press opponents and intercept passes.

During his 2016-17 Premier League season at Aston Villa, Gueye completed the most tackles.

This year is the second time that Gueye has missed the opportunity to show solidarity for the LGBTQ+ community.

Clubs in France are invited to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on 17 May by wearing rainbow-design numbers on their shirts.

In 2021, Gueye cited gastroenteritis as the reason for not playing, as per Le Parisien.

What has been the response?

There has been a strong mixture of responses as a result of Gueye’s absence. His president, Macky Sall, took to Twitter to say he supported Gueye and that the midfielder’s Muslim beliefs must be respected.

The country’s sports minister, Matar Ba, also tweeted to say that Gueye was backed by his country’s people and Ba included a picture of Gueye on pilgrimage to Mecca.

Fellow Senaglese players Cheikhou Kouyate and Ismaila Sarr (who play for Crystal Palace and Watford respectively) both also took to social media to support their teammate.

Kouyate posted a picture of the two of them with the caption calling Gueye a “real man” while Sarr posted using three heart emojis and ‘100%’ as the caption.

What have the clubs said?

After their winger took to social media, Watford stated their continued commitment to equality and diversity and added: “this includes the willingness to offer further education and support to any of its players.”

During a press conference, Palace boss Patrick Vieira said that if Kouyate had posted in relation to Gueye’s absence from the match, the situation would be resolved in an “in-house conversation.”

PSG have stated that the club are “very proud to wear this shirt.” and that “The biggest stars of world football were on the field on Saturday and expressed the club’s commitment to the fight against homophobia and all forms of discrimination.”