A Turkish captain of a Dutch football team on Sunday refused to wear a rainbow patterned armband due to his religious beliefs after
the Dutch 1st League team captains decided to go to the weekend matches with a rainbow-colored armband with the words “One Love” in order to welcome LGBTI+ individuals in the community.
Ahead of a match against AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord captain Orkun Kokcu said that he has decided not to wear the rainbow captain’s armband.
Feyenoord tweeted a personal explanation from Kokcu regarding his refusal.
“I think it’s important to emphasise that I respect everyone regardless of religion, background or preference. I believe that everyone is free to do what they want or feel. I fully understand the importance of this action, but because of my religious beliefs, I don’t feel the right person to support this.
“That’s why I don’t feel comfortable wearing this captain’s armband. I can imagine some people are disappointed with this. That is absolutely not my intention, although I realise that I may not immediately be able to take away that feeling with these words. But I hope that my choice for religious reasons will also be respected.”
Gernot Trauner took the field as the captain instead of Kokcu. The success of Feyenoord, who defeated the away leader AZ 3-1 with the opening goal of Kokcu, was overshadowed by the debate about LGBTI+ individuals.
After Kokcu, Excelsior captain Redouan El Yaakoubi also played against Ajax with a white band that read “Respect” instead of a rainbow colored armband.