Senegalese president backs Gueye after accusations of homophobia

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Dakar (AFP) – Senegalese President Macky Sall tweeted on Tuesday his support for Paris Saint-Germain footballer Idrissa Gana Gueye, accused of homophobia in France.

“I support Idrissa Gana Gueye. His religious beliefs should be respected,” he wrote on Twitter.

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

This prompted radio station RMC to claim that he deliberately avoided the match so as not to wear the jersey.

Gueye also missed a match last year on a day dedicated to the fight against homophobia.

In Senegal, Gueye and his teammates are adored. He was part of the team that won the country’s first African Cup of Nations in February against Egypt.

In Senegal, where 95% of the population is Muslim, homosexuality is widely considered deviant. “Acts against nature” between people of the same sex are punishable by one to five years in prison.

Messages of support for Gueye have poured in on social networks and from political, artistic and sports figures.

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