Monaco’s Mohamed Camara handed four-match ban for covering anti-homophobia logo

Mohamed Camara uses white tape to cover an anti-homophobia message on his chest

AS Monaco midfielder Mohamed Camara has been banned for four matches after refusing to display an anti-homophobia logo on his kit.

Professional football leagues in France were marking the World Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia during matches on May 19, but Camara had refused even before Monaco’s game to join a team photograph at which players posed in front of a campaign logo.

The 24-year-old Mali international then used white tape to cover an anti-homophobia message on his chest during Monaco’s 4-0 win against Nantes.

It was the last game of the league season, with Camara scoring from the penalty spot, before being referred to the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) for disciplinary action.

“After hearing the player Mohamed Camara, and noting his refusal during the meeting to carry out one or more actions to raise awareness of the fight against homophobia, the Commission decided to impose a four-match suspension,” the LFP said in a statement.

French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera had earlier called for “the strongest sanctions” but the Malian Football Federation issued a statement in support of the player. “It is important to remember that players are citizens like any others, whose fundamental rights must be protected in all circumstances,” the Mali Football Federation said.

Although Mali is not among those African countries where homosexuality is illegal, gay marriage is not recognised and various polls have indicated strong social hostility to LGBT rights.

Camara will now miss the first four games of next season. On Thursday, AS Monaco chief executive Thiago Scuro said the club supported the French league’s anti-homophobia campaign and that Camara’s behaviour was not representative of the club.

“It was a personal initiative from Mo Camara,” Scuro said. “We will have this conversation with Mo internally. Internally, we will discuss this situation.”

Camara’s management agency, Unique Sports Group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Camara previously served a three-month doping suspension in 2021, although Uefa accepted that he had not intentionally broken rules. Red Bull Salzburg, who were his club at the time, said that he had taken altitude sickness medication while on international duty.