Patrick Vieira has responded to the outrage caused by Crystal Palace midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate after the midfielder publicly supported Idrissa Gueye for allegedly refusing to wear rainbow colors for PSG.
Gueye was criticized after he failed to appear for PSG in their 4-0 win over Montpellier, where players all wore special shirts in an expression of solidarity for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, on Tuesday. His failure to show was put down to ‘personal reasons’ by manager Mauricio Pochettino, with French outlet RMC Sport reporting that Gueye, a devout Muslim, did not want to represent the rainbow colours by appearing in the special kit.
Both Kouyate and Watford’s Ismalia Sarr – international teammates of Gueye with Senegal – posted pictures of support on Instagram following the news, with Kouyate adding in a caption that he thought the PSG star was ‘a real man’ and adding ‘we wholeheartedly support you, brother’. Gueye has also received widespread support in his home country, including from Senegal’s current President Macky Sall and former Prime Minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne.
Kouyate’s post of solidarity with Gueye was quickly shared on social media with several Eagles fans voicing their disapproval. Palace and Proud – the club’s official LGBT+ supporters’ group – have already reached out to Palace for comment. Vieira was asked directly about the issue during his pre-match press conference on Wednesday but initially refused to comment further while there still appeared to be no official word on Gueye’s reason not to play.
“Did he [Gueye] make the statement or did PSG make a statement?” said Vieira. “Who said [he refused to wear the shirt]? This is the biggest problem. There is a lot of noise coming out from France but I’ve not seen any statement from the player or PSG. We have to be sure of what we’ve seen.” He added: “We are fighting against any kind of discrimination.”
When prompted that PSG had confirmed the news, Vieira said: “If this is the case, I will speak to Cheikhou. It will be an in-house discussion.”