Moroccan star Zakaria Abu Khalil and Egyptian Mostafa Mohamed, along with several other players, were absent from the gay support tour in the French Football League today, Sunday.
Abu Khallal (Toulouse player) and Mustafa (Nantes striker) did not participate in the two teams’ match, which ended without goals today.
And the two clubs announced that the start of the match was delayed by an hour and a half due to suspicions about a “suspicious bag”.
Toulouse said – in a statement – that “some players from the squad expressed their dissatisfaction with their association with the colors of the rainbow that represent the LGBT community.”
He added, “While we respect the personal choices of the players, and after many discussions, the Toulouse club decided to exclude the players from the match.”
And the French League, in the first and second tiers, asked players to wear shirts with rainbow numbers in support of LGBT people.
Moroccan Abu Khallal confirmed that he had already refused to participate in the match.
The Moroccan player wrote, through his Twitter account, “I have made my decision not to participate in today’s match. Respect is a value that I value very much, and this extends to others, but this also includes respect for my personal beliefs.”
“Because of that, I don’t think I’m the right person to take part in such a promotion,” said the 23-year-old, who has played in all of Toulouse’s league matches this season and scored 8 goals in 34 appearances.
Abu scored a goal in Toulouse’s 5-1 victory over Nantes in the French Cup final on April 29.
And the French newspaper “L’Equipe” reported that the Egyptian striker Mostafa traveled with the Nantes squad to Toulouse, but decided to stay in the hotel and not go to the stadium after refusing to wear the gay shirt.
Mustafa, 25, who plays on loan from the Turkish club Galatasaray, participated in all Nantes matches this season, whether as a starter or as a substitute, and scored 8 goals in 34 league matches.
It was reported that, in addition to Abu Khalil, Malian Musa Diarra and Bosnian striker Saeed Hamulic also refused to participate with Toulouse today, Sunday.