Ghana's No. 1

El Yaakoubi relinquishes captaincy over OneLove row

Published on: 28 March 2023

Redouan El Yaakoubi joined Excelsior in 2021

Excelsior Rotterdam defender Redouan El Yaakoubi has relinquished the club captaincy after refusing to pose for a team photo with the OneLove banner.

The joint decision was taken by Dutchman El Yaakoubi and the Eredivisie club after the incident before their 4-1 win over SC Cambuur on 19 March.

Excelsior said the mutual decision would allow both parties to "feel free and comfortable in their role".

OneLove is a campaign to promote diversity and inclusion in football.

Created by the Dutch football association during the 2020 season, it rose to prominence before the 2022 World Cup when several countries - including England and Wales - abandoned plans to wear OneLove captain's armbands during matches because players faced disciplinary action from governing body Fifa if they did so.

"Not taking a seat behind the large OneLove banner during the team photo has caused a lot of noise and misunderstanding, both internally and externally," said Excelsior.

It added it would never exclude anyone "on the basis of skin colour, origin, religion, or sexual preference. But neither will we exclude anyone on the basis of their own opinion".

"Although we are primarily a football club, we realise better than anyone that we also have a social function and we do something with that every day.

"The OneLove action, however well intentioned, has put things on edge. Forcing people into something is never the way to go.

"Therefore, in the interest of the club, the player and sporting objective we have jointly decided to place the captain's armband elsewhere within the team so that both club and player feel free and comfortable in their role."

Right-back El Yaakoubi, 27, joined Excelsior in 2021 and has scored eight goals in 52 appearances.


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