French Muslim football team will play against gay side

A French Muslim team who apparently refused to play against a gay side have said the row was a “misunderstanding”.

Paris Foot Gay (PFG), of the Parisian suburb Creteil, were due to play against predominantly Muslim side Bebel but the latter called the match off the evening before it was scheduled.

According to PFG president Pascal Brethes, they were sent an email from Bebel saying the match was “against their principles”.

Brethes said the email added: “Sorry, but because of the name of your team and in keeping with the principles of the team, which is a team of practising Muslims, we cannot play against you.

“Our convictions are stronger than a game of football. Sorry to have informed you so late.”

PFG said the communication was homophobic and that they were considering pressing charges.

Now, Bebel say they will play against the gay side.

In a statement, Bebel director Zahir Belgharbi insisted there had been “a misunderstanding” and said his team were ready to play against PFG.

He told AFP: “We had rejected playing this match not on the grounds of homophobia, as we have been accused of doing, but simply because the name of the club did not seem to us to reflect our vision of sport.

“We reacted by turning down the invitation from Paris Foot Gay for fear of it leading to an instrumentalisation on the part of this club in that it was highlighting the homosexuality of its players.”

Local league president Jacques Stouvenel told AFP that both clubs were due to attend a meeting over the incident this week and that Bebel could face disciplinary action or be kicked out of the league.