France’s sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera has reacted angrily after a number of Ligue 1 and 2 football players refused to participate in a collective show of support against homophobia.

Weekend fixtures were marked by players posing with anti-homophobia banners and the wearing of rainbow-coloured armbands.

The minister called on clubs to punish players who didn’t take part. She said players “have to show up” on such issues.

Several players decided to miss games rather than pose with the anti-homophobia messages.

A number of Toulouse players “expressed their disagreement with the association of their image with the rainbow colours representing the LGBT movement,” the club said in a statement. The club went on to say that while it respected individual choices it would sideline the players who refused to take part in the anti-homophobia campaign.

Adding to the row, the National Union of Professional Footballers said players should not have to convey “collective messages.”

PHOTOS: Top, at Monaco’s home game on Sunday, centre, France’s sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera (French government)