Mohamed Camara, who put white tape over the anti-homophobia logo on his jersey, celebrates with his Monaco teammates after scoring against Nantes in Ligue 1 on May 19. | NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images

Mohamed Camara has been handed a four-match ban by French football chiefs for his scornful snub of a league-wide anti-homophobia campaign.

The Monaco footballer scored in a 4-0 victory over Nantes on the final day of the Ligue 1 season on May 19. The result saw his club qualify for the prestigious UEFA Champions League.

However, Camara’s decision that night to cover up the campaign logo on his jersey — he used white tape to conceal the sticker on the front of his jersey — means he will have to sit out the start of next season in France.

Camara appeared by video link Thursday evening in front of a Ligue de Football Professionel (LFP) disciplinary committee, having been summoned to explain himself.

The 24-year-old midfielder also snubbed a photo in front of a campaign banner before kick-off against Nantes, and blacked out a sleeve badge showing the Ligue 1 logo in Pride rainbow colors.

An LFP statement read: “After hearing the player Mohamed Camara and taking note of his refusal during the session to carry out one or more awareness-raising actions in the fight against homophobia, the Commission decides to impose a firm suspension of four matches on him.”

AFP reported the response of Monaco’s general manager Thiago Scuro: “We take note of the decision of the League which we respect and we will not appeal this decision.”

Condemnation of Mali international Camara was swift after the game, and not just from groups fighting anti-LGBTQ discrimination in French football, where incidents of homophobic chanting are common.

67% of fans in the country told a recent YouGov survey that homophobia is a serious problem in their game.

France’s sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera called for “the toughest sanctions” to be taken against Camara.

Scuro, who phoned the LFP to apologize on behalf of the club, insisted the player had made an “independent decision” to obscure the badges on his jersey.

Scuro also said: “Mo has his religious reasons to do what he did. As you can imagine, it is a very sensitive topic to discuss as we have to respect religion.”

Camara has won 24 international caps for Mali and played at the last two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. The Malian Football Federation backed him via a statement on Facebook citing “freedom of expression,” adding: “Players are citizens like any other whose fundamental rights must be protected in all circumstances.”

Earlier on Thursday, L’Equipe reported:

“The sanction for “words, gestures and/or attitudes targeting a person because of their sexual orientation” can be up to 10 matches, but no scale is set in this specific case. The commission could sanction him with a suspension or a fine. And the decision will also depend on what the player says.”

The newspaper also said that Monaco had no plans to assist Camara in the hearing, with Scuro insisting that the club supports the LFP’s anti-homophobia initiatives.

Before the hearing, several blue-tick soccer accounts on X attempted to stir up engagement over Camara’s situation, with the majority telling their followers that the player was set for a 10-game ban.

One account with at least 1 million followers carried this claim with two emojis side by side — a rainbow flag next to a no-entry sign.

It’s another example of how some users paying to use the social media platform attempt to drive clicks and views from controversial posts, which can deliver revenue. There has recently been an upsurge in sports accounts doing this, often with content related to LGBTQ inclusion.

Meanwhile, it has been claimed that Algeria international midfielder Nabil Bentaleb also snubbed a photo on May 19 in front of an anti-homophobia campaign banner, before his Lille side’s 2-2 draw with Nice.

Video footage shows the 29-year-old, previously of Tottenham and Schalke, kneeling behind his teammates, appearing to readjust his bootlaces.

Bentaleb’s actions were called out a couple of days after the game by Rouge Direct who said: “He seems not to wish to appear in the photo and cowardly refuses, while hiding, to associate himself with the message: ‘No to homophobia’.”

The president of the group for LGBTQ fans of the French national team, “Bleus et Fiers” (“Blue and Proud”), says he plans to file an official complaint for “inciting homophobic hatred” against Camara, Bentaleb, their clubs, the LFP, and also Mostafa Mohamed and his club, Nantes.

Egypt international Mohamed chose to sit out the round of fixtures, linked to the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHOBIT), for the second year running.

“It seems essential to me to file a complaint, if only for the symbol,” Jean-Baptiste Montarnier told L’Equipe. “This is supposed to be the role of the LFP, but it never does it, even in the case of homophobic chanting.”

Nantes are said to have fined Mohamed and donated the money to a relevant association. Reports suggest they plan this summer to sell the striker, who is being chased by clubs in Qatar, the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia.