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Two Ligue 1 players refuse to play in protest at anti-homophobia campaign

Toulouse forward Zakaria Aboukhlal (centre) and Nantes' Mostafa Mohamed refused to play in their Ligue 1 fixture on Sunday. Photo: Valentine Chapuis/AFP

Toulouse’s Zakaria Aboukhlal and Nantes’ Mostafa Mohamed were omitted from the teamsheet for the Ligue 1 clash between the two clubs on Sunday after refusing to participate in a campaign against homophobia.

All teams in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 this weekend have shirts featuring numbers in rainbow colours as part of the initiative. The captains’ armbands are similarly coloured.

Moroccan Aboukhlal, a regular starter for Toulouse, sat out the game because he refused to wear the jersey, according to La Depeche du Midi newspaper, which added that Logan Costa and Fares Chaibi also did not want to play although they were both named on the teamsheet.

Mohamed, an Egyptian, also refused to wear the jersey, a source close to his Nantes team said.

Guingamp’s Senegalese defender Donatien Gomis ruled himself out of the Ligue 2 clash with Sochaux on Saturday for the same reason, club sources there said.

As part of the elite French leagues’ annual anti-homophobia campaign, the rainbow-adorned shirts will be sold at auction with the proceeds going to three charities active in fighting LGBTQ discrimination.

The start of the Toulouse-Nantes match was pushed back to 1430GMT because of a security operation which saw the stadium evacuated as police inspected the area reserved for the visiting supporters. 

There were no such delays at Clermont where the home side came from a goal down to beat Lyon 2-1.

Alexandre Lacazette gave Lyon the lead after 22 minutes but Grejohn Kyei levelled from the penalty spot three minutes later.

Kyei netted his second after 65 minutes to lift Clermont up to eighth, just three points behind Lyon whose hopes of European football next season appear to be over.

“It’s a big disappointment,” said Lyon coach Laurent Blanc. “As for Europe, it’s all over.”

Rennes, meanwhile, held an emotional homage to Arman Soldin, their former youth player and the AFP video reporter killed in Ukraine on Tuesday.

Soldin’s mother and brother live in the western city and Rennes held the tribute to his memory before the Breton club’s home match with Troyes.

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