Toulouse players left out of squad after refusal to offer LGBT support | Toulouse

Several Toulouse players were withdrawn from the squad for the Ligue 1 game against Nantes on Sunday after they refused to have their names associated with a league-wide gesture of support against homophobia, the club said.

“Some players from the professional squad have expressed their disagreement with the association of their image with the rainbow colours representing the LGBT movement,” Toulouse said in a statement.

“While respecting the individual choices of its players, and after numerous exchanges, Toulouse Football Club has chosen to leave the said players out of the match.”

Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 players were asked this weekend to wear rainbow-coloured numbers on their shirts as a gesture of support for the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on Wednesday.

The Toulouse and Morocco forward Zakaria Aboukhlal said he did not want to take part in the game. “I have made the decision not to take part in today’s game,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Respect is a value that I hold in great esteem. It extends to others, but it also encompasses respect for my own personal beliefs. Hence, I don’t believe I am the most suitable person to participate in this campaign.”

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European roundup: Pogba limps from return in tears, Feyenoord champions


Second-half goals by Nicolo Fagioli and Gleison Bremer earned Juventus a comfortable 2-0 win against second-bottom Cremonese in Serie A on Sunday, but the result was soured by another injury to midfielder Paul Pogba. 

Pogba, who returned to Juventus last summer but has struggled with injury since, began the game well as he started a match for the first time since last April when he played for Manchester United at Liverpool. 

But the Frenchman only lasted a little over 20 minutes before he injured himself again and left the field in tears, heading straight down the tunnel as he was replaced by Arkadiusz Milik. Italian media reported that the midfielder, who also started his first Serie A game since May 2016, suffered a muscle issue.

Elsewhere, In Serie A, a rotated Roma team were held to a goalless draw at mid-table Bologna as Jose Mourinho’s side prepares for the Europa League semi-final second leg, extending their winless run in in the league to five games. With his side’s trip to Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday, and Roma a goal ahead in the tie, Mourinho left the striker Paulo Dybala and goalkeeper Rui Patricio out of the squad. But Roma were unable to take advantage of the poor performances over the weekend of those around them in the table and remain sixth on 59 points, one point clear of Atalanta in seventh and two behind Milan in fifth. 

RB Leipzig struck twice late at home to snatch a 2-1 comeback win against Werder Bremen on Sunday and reclaim third place in the Bundesliga with two matches remaining. Willi Orban headed in an 87th-minute equaliser to cancel out Leonardo Bittencourt’s 70th-minute opener before Christopher Nkunku delivered another assist in stoppage time for Dominik Szoboszlai to tap in the winner. Leipzig, who next week face the Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, are third on 60 points, one ahead of Union Berlin in fourth, and four in front of fifth-placed Freiburg.

In Rotterdam, Feyenoord wrapped up the Dutch championship with two games to spare after two early goals set them on their way to a 3-0 win against Go Ahead Eagles on Sunday. Feyenoord took an unassailable lead at the top of the standings to spark wild celebrations in the port city, as they sealed the title for the first time since 2017. Feyenoord moved to 79 points, losing only one of their 32 league games played this season, and out of the reach of their nearest challengers PSV Eindhoven. It is Feyenoord’s 16th title but only their second in the past two decades.

Marseille maintained their hopes of securing a Champions League group stage spot for next season when they beat already-relegated Angers 3-1 in Ligue 1 on Sunday.


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The Stade Brestois coach Eric Roy said the campaign should not have been held as the season wraps up, arguing that some players not taking part in it could play a decisive role as their clubs fight to avoid relegation.

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“The programming of this day against homophobia is catastrophic,” Roy said after his 15th-placed team beat fellow strugglers AJ Auxerre on Sunday. “You can see that there are players who have a problem with it. Everyone is free to express their opinions. Personally, I have no problem with it. But there are players who may have a problem with it.

“Then you should not schedule this campaign at that time when you know some players are fighting to avoid relegation. You could do it in December, September.”

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