VVCS chairman Evgeniy Levchenko wants to hear from captains Orkun Kökcü and Redouan El Yaakoubi why they refused to wear the OneLove band on Sunday. The president of the Dutch players’ union was surprised by the choice of the captains of Feyenoord and Excelsior respectively.
“It is important that we continue to talk about this together,” said the former professional football player, who will seek contact with Kökcü and El Yaakoubi. The VVCS maintains contact with the captains of the professional football clubs. Last week, Levchenko informed them via a message in the group app that in the week of Coming-Out Day (11 October) attention would also be paid to this theme on the fields.
Draw attention to acceptance
The captains of the clubs from the Eredivisie, Kitchen Champion Division and Women’s Eredivisie wore the OneLove band last weekend, which stands for connection and is aimed against all forms of discrimination. Only Kökcü and El Yaakoubi refused.
“In the past, we have had a rainbow captaincy campaign with the John Blankenstein Foundation,” Levchenko continued. “After that, it was much broader together with the KNVB. OneLove stands for inclusiveness and connection. We want to connect people with this, regardless of religion, orientation, skin color, what you look like, etcetera.”
Then something like this should be able to find each other, Levchenko thought. “It hurts me when I see this. It’s a sign that there is still a lot of work to be done, that we still have a big problem in our society. I thought we were all much further ahead would be.”
Shortly before the match against AZ, Kökcü stated in a statement that he did not want to wear the OneLove band because of his religious beliefs. Gernot Trauner was therefore the captain of Feyenoord in Alkmaar. At Excelsior, captain El Yaakoubi did not wear the belt with the colored OneLove logo in the away match against Ajax, but a white belt with the word ‘respect’ on it 3 times.
According to Levchenko, the captains of the Rotterdam clubs miss the target. “The rainbow band only stands for gay acceptance, but OneLove is much broader. That includes all exclusions.”
Goal of Levchenko
And so he doesn’t want to make it bigger than it is. “I just hope it’s just a misunderstanding with both players. I’m going to contact them, I’m curious what their exact reasons are. It’s their choice and I respect that, we can’t force anyone. But that hurts they indirectly also a very large group. It pains me to see that this action is completely misinterpreted.”
The KNVB announced on Sunday that everyone is free to participate in the OneLove action. The union declined to comment further on Monday.