Muslims, Gays Clash Over French Soccer Match

Muslim team banned after refusing to play Paris Foot Gay
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 5:47 PM CDT
Two soccer players fight for the ball.   (AP Photo/Keystone/Walter Bieri)

(Newser) – An amateur soccer game sparked an ugly culture clash in France after a Muslim team refused to play a rival that welcomes openly gay players. On the eve of the match between Creteil Bebel and Paris Foot Gay, the Bebel president sent an email declining the match: "In light of the name of your team and in keeping with the principles of our team, which is a team of practicing Muslims, we cannot play against you; our convictions are stronger than a simple game of soccer."

The email circulated widely and set off a media firestorm. At an amateur league hearing, a Creteil Bebel captain apologized and said, belatedly, that it would play Paris Foot Gay, but league officials expelled the team anyway for discriminatory practices, Global Post reports. Paris Foot Gay tried to smooth things over by offering to play a separate benefit match, but Creteil Bebel declined.