Brest manager Eric Roy bemoans “catastrophic” timing of Ligue 1’s anti-homophobia campaign

Stade Brestois manager Eric Roy has described the timing of Ligue 1’s anti-homophobia campaign as “catastrophic.” Some of FC Toulouse’s players refused to take part in the campaign as they drew at Brest’s relegation rivals FC Nantes. 

The 35th gameweek of the Ligue 1 season saw all clubs participate in the fight against homophobia. The campaign included adorning players’ shirt numbers in the colours of the rainbow, however, not all players at all clubs wanted to take part. Notably, at Toulouse, Zakaria Aboukhlal, Moussa Diarra and Saïd Hamulić all refused to take part, as the club confirmed prior to kick-off. At Nantes, Mostafa Mohamed also refused to take part, according to a report from Ouest-France

In the absence of some key players, Coupe de France winners Toulouse only drew against Nantes, who remain in the drop zone, five points behind Brest, who beat fellow strugglers AJ Auxerre on Sunday. However, in a post-match press conference, transcribed by L’ÉquipeBrest manager Roy sought to criticise the timing of the anti-homophobia campaign. 

It’s catastrophic (the timing). We’re clearly seeing that it’s causing a problem for some players. Everyone has their opinions, personally, it’s not a problem for me. So don’t do it in the last four matches of the season, when these matches concern the clubs’ survival. I am in favour of action, and it’s good that the Ligue is committed, even if I think it should primarily take care of football,” he said. 

He continued, “Personally, I’m not happy that there are five players that aren’t playing at Toulouse, who are playing Nantes, and who are fighting with us to stay up. Is it fair? No. It’s the responsibility of the Ligue for having put this (anti-homophobia) day here. We have to think about the topic. We didn’t have anything to manage on our end. I don’t even know if some players asked themselves the question.

Grégory Lorenzi, Brest’s Sporting Director added, “When we want to do these kinds of things, we don’t do it when there are key matches. It could distort things.” Gameweek 35 was chosen because the 17th of May is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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