May 14 (Reuters) - Several Toulouse players were withdrawn from the squad for Sunday's Ligue 1 game against Nantes after they refused to have their names associated with a league-wide gesture of support against homophobia, the club said.
"Some players from the professional squad have expressed their disagreement with the association of their image with the rainbow colours representing the LGBT movement," Toulouse said in a statement.
"While respecting the individual choices of its players, and after numerous exchanges, Toulouse Football Club has chosen to leave the said players out of the match."
Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 players were asked this weekend to wear rainbow-coloured numbers on their shirts as a gesture of support ahead of Wednesday's International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
Toulouse and Morocco defender Zakaria Aboukhlal said he did not want to take part in the game.
"I have made the decision not to take part in today's game," he wrote on Twitter.
"Respect is a value that I hold in great esteem. It extends to others, but it also encompasses respect for my own personal beliefs.
"Hence, I don't believe I am the most suitable person to participate in this campaign."
Stade Brestois coach Eric Roy said the campaign should not have been held as the season wraps up, arguing that some players not taking part in it could play a decisive role as their clubs fight to avoid relegation.
"The programming of this day against homophobia is catastrophic," Roy said after 15th-placed Brest beat fellow strugglers AJ Auxerre on Sunday.
"You can see that there are players who have a problem with it. Everyone is free to express their opinions. Personally, I have no problem with it. But there are players who may have a problem with it.
"Then you should not schedule this campaign at that time when you know some players are fighting to avoid relegation. You could do it in December, September."