Berliner Tageblatt - Camara faces rap in 'homophobia' row as Mali defends 'free speech'

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Camara faces rap in 'homophobia' row as Mali defends 'free speech'
Camara faces rap in 'homophobia' row as Mali defends 'free speech' / Photo: © AFP

Camara faces rap in 'homophobia' row as Mali defends 'free speech'

Mali footballer Mohamed Camara, who covered up a pro-LGBTQ badge on his playing jersey, was summoned to a French football disciplinary hearing on Wednesday as his country's football federation backed his right to freedom of expression.

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Camara opted not to support a French league campaign against homophobia by taping over the logo on the front of his shirt as he played for Monaco against Nantes at the weekend.

The 24-year-old also chose not to take part in a group photo in which both teams stood behind a banner in support of the LGBTQ community.

"The disciplinary committee has decided to summon the player Mohamed Camara for its next session which will be held on Thursday May 30, 2024," the French Professional League (PFL) said in a statement.

Monaco apologised for the incident.

"Mo did this for religious reasons," said Monaco's general manager Thiago Scuro

"It's a very sensitive subject at all levels, because we also have to respect all religions. But as an organisation, we are very sad about this episode and we want to make it clear that we do not support this."

Camara scored as Monaco, who finished runners-up to champions Paris Saint-Germain, won 4-0.

"Such behaviour must be met with the toughest sanctions both for the player but also for his club which allowed him to do it," France's sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said on Monday.

However, in Mali, Camara has won widespread support for respecting his own personal and religious convictions.

The Malian Football Federation published a statement of support for the player "in the exercise of his freedom of expression".

"Players are citizens like any other whose fundamental rights must be protected in all circumstances."

K.Brown--BTB