Last Updated on October 20, 2022
Turkish soccer player Orkun Kokcu was unable to serve as captain for the Dutch club Feyenoord after refusing to wear a rainbow-colored armband to celebrate gay pride. The 21-year-old said that doing so would violate his Muslim faith.
Kokcu has captained for his Eredivisie side over the past five games, but his refusal to participate in the promotion led to his removal.
“I have decided not to wear the rainbow captain’s armband of this round,” Kokcu said in a message shared by his club. “I do think it is important to emphasize that I have respect for everyone regardless of religion, background or preference. I believe that everyone is free to do whatever they want or feel.
“I understand very well what the importance of this action is, but because of my religious beliefs I do not feel the right person to support this,” he added.
Kokcu, who was born in the Netherlands but plays for the Turkish national team, said that his religious beliefs made him uncomfortable with partaking in the promotion. He accepted that some people might be “disappointed” with his decision, but he felt compelled to make it.
“That is absolutely not my intention,” Kokcu said. “Although I realize that I may not be able to take away that feeling with these words immediately. But I hope that my choice for religious reasons will also be respected.”
The 21-year-old is currently in great form after scoring and providing an assist in his club’s latest game against Alkmaar. Feyenoord is currently two points behind Ajax for the Dutch top flight title.
The rainbow armbands have been advanced by the “One Love” program, which began in the Netherlands. One Love has provided the armbands in the Eredivisie, and the captains of nine European countries plan to use them at the upcoming World Cup in the Muslim nation of Qatar.
FIFA has yet to rule on whether the bands can be used at the tournament, as doing so will almost certainly anger Muslim fans.