French Muslim football side kicked out of league in row over gay team

A Muslim football team who initially refused to play against a gay team and then appeared to back down have been kicked out of their league.

Bebel, a team from the Parisian suburb of Creteil, were excluded from the Leisure Football Commission for making discriminatory comments and refusing a match, the commission’s website said today.

After calling off a match the night before it was due to be played, the Muslim side was accused of homophobia by gay team Paris Foot Gay (PFG). Bebel then said there had been a misunderstanding.

Bebel director Zahir Belgharbi told AFP at the weekend: “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.”

The club has now apparently refused to play against the gay team again.

According to PFG president Pascal Brethes, the original email from Bebel said 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.