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Piers Morgan has come out in defence of African footballer Idrissa Gueye, arguing the Muslim footballer should not have to wear the rainbow colours that indicate LGBTIQ+ support if he does not wish to do so.
Gueye, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, was the only footballer not to don rainbow colours in support of Tuesday’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (May 17).
In fact, he didn't play the game at all and missed PSG's win over Montpellier.
The Senegalese player was officially touted as not playing the match for 'personal reasons'.
And Morgan had an opinion or two about it.
🗣 "I love rainbows. But a rainbow has ignited a firestorm in the world of football."— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) May 19, 2022
In today's #PiersUncensored column, @piersmorgan says gay footballers coming out is inspiring - but he'll defend any footballer who refuses to wear the rainbow for gay rights.
"African midfielder Idrissa Gueye, who is a devout Muslim - strict forms of Islam don’t tolerate homosexuality - didn’t play because he didn’t want to wear the rainbow colours which were first created in the ‘70s as a symbol of pride and tolerance for the gay community," Morgan wrote in an op-ed for The Sun.
"Gueye is entitled to decide whether he wishes to wear rainbow colours.
"He comes from Senegal, where homosexuality is illegal and can result in five years imprisonment, and where 97 per cent f the people, according to a 2013 PEW Global Attitudes Poll, believe homosexuality is a way of life that society shouldn’t accept."
Rouge Direct, a French association fighting bigotry in sport, has slammed Gueye for refusing to play.
"Homophobia is not an opinion but a crime. The League and PSG must ask Gueye to explain himself and very quickly. And punish him if necessary," they said in a statement, as per The Sun.
President of France LGBT+ Sports Federation Eric Arassus, added: "Idrissa Gueye is a great player, but religion is not a part of the sport. Every player took part except him.
"He should be sanctioned. Gueye’s excuses show that the club [PSG] and League let homophobia happen."
These statements led Morgan to ask: "Did they? Should he? And if religion is not a part of sport, why is sexuality?
He added: "I’ve no idea if Gueye is homophobic or not, but he’s not said anything publicly to suggest he is."
Gueye's decision not to don the rainbow kit comes as Blackpool forward Jake Daniels became the UK's first openly gay male professional footballer.
Daniels, 17, is the first male professional footballer in the UK to come out publicly as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.
He spoke to Sky Sports about his relief after coming out as gay and expressed his happiness at his brave decision.
"Since I've come out to my family, my club and my teammates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental health," Daniels said.