A mainly Muslim non-league French side said they could take on rivals consisting of gay players after all, four days after snubbing them in what the former Saturday insisted was a "misunderstanding."
Paris Foot Gay (PFG) were set to play fellow Creteil side Bebel, who are composed of mainly Muslim players last week but Bebel cried off a day beforehand, sending an email in which they regretted they could not honor the match as doing so was "against their principles".
"Sorry, but because of the name of your team and in keeping with the principles of the team, which is a team of practicing Muslims, we cannot play against you," said the e-mail, according to PFG's co-founder and current president Pascal Brethes.
It added: "Our convictions are stronger than a game of football. Sorry to have informed you so late."
PFG deplored what they saw as a "homophobic" decision.
But on Saturday, Bebel director Zahir Belgharbi insisted there had been "a misunderstanding" and sent out a statement through club lawyer Benedicte Puybasset indicating they were indeed ready "to play the match."
Puybasset regretted that the matter had grown out of all proportion but local league president Jacques Stouvenel told AFP both clubs had been summoned to a meeting next Tuesday to assess the situation, warning that Bebel could be disciplined or even thrown out of the league.
Belgharbi told AFP Saturday's statement was designed to "re-establish the truth and settle everything on the grounds of good sense," rowing back on the initial snub.
"We had rejected playing this match not on the grounds of homophobia, as we have been accused of doing, but simply because the name of the club (PFG) did not seem to us to reflect our vision of sport, " said Belgharbi, saying his club believed no ethnic or religious slant should be placed on footballing matters.
"We reacted by turning down the invitation from Paris Foot Gay for fear of it leading to an instrumentalisation on the part of this club in that it was highlighting the homosexuality of its players," he added.