Nigeria's women's soccer team at the 2011 Women's World Cup
The president of Nigeria's women's soccer federation, Dilichukwu Onyedinma, said that any lesbians will be kicked off the team. From All Africa:
"It (lesbianism) is happening but we have to talk to the clubs, and look inside the clubs and these things have to do with clubs," Onyedinma said.
"There are particular clubs that don't even want to hear about it and once they heard it the players involved will be sacked," the football boss told PREMIUM TIMES, citing the condemnation of the act in the bible.
She said any player found to be involved in lesbianism will be disqualified from participating in the league.
"Any player that we heard is associated with it will be disqualified," she added.
While gay rights have advance in many parts of the world, things are bleaker in much of Africa, where gays and lesbians face harassment and even death if discovered (in the parts of Nigeria covered by Sharia law, homosexuality is punishable by death by stoning). In 2011, the coach of Nigeria's soccer team condemned lesbian players on the eve of the women's World Cup.
Four LGBT-oriented sports groups have written a letter to Sepp Blatter, head of international soccer's governing body FIFA, saying Onyedinma's statement is counter to FIFA's policies. Given Blatter's tone-deafness to gay issues in the sport, I wouldn't count on much of a response.
Here is the letter sent to Blatter and FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke:
On behalf of the undersigned, we are writing to express our distress about reports of discriminatory behavior by Nigerian Women's Football League chair Dilichukwu Onyedinma. According to press out of the country yesterday (March 4, 2013), following the recent annual General Assembly, Onyedinma has officially announced that lesbianism is now "officially banned from Nigerian football." As you know, this is in direct contravention of FIFA's anti-discrimination policies. Indeed, Mr. Blatter, in an interview on FIFA's official site, dated August 12, 2011, you state very clearly that "[t]he sexual orientation of a player or coach is a private matter. People have to,be able to live their lives free from all forms of discrimination."
We have broached this subject with you before. In June 2011, just two months prior to Mr. Blatter's interview, we wrote to FIFA about reports of discriminatory behavior by Eucharia Uche, the coach of the Nigerian women's football team competing in that summer's World Cup in Germany. Three months later, Mr. Valcke responded with a request for proof, which we supplied on September 20, 2011. Over one year has passed and we have received no further communication on this matter.
Mr. Blatter, Mr. Valcke, what is the status of the investigation into Nigerian Coach Uche's discriminatory behavior? And what will FIFA do to sanction Mr. Onyedinma and the Nigerian Women's Football League in their discriminatory practices ?
We very much look forward to your prompt response
Emy Ritt (email@example.com)
Kurt Dahl (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Marc Naimark (email@example.com)
Vice President External Affairs
Federation of Gay Games
Armelle Mazé (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Klaus Heusslein (email@example.com)
Co-presidents European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation
Lou Englefield (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keph Senett (email@example.com)
Football v Homophobia
André Banks (firstname.lastname@example.org)