Members of the Super Falcons team
A campaign has been launched calling on FIFA to act against the coach of the Nigerian national football women’s team who has boasted that she has purged the team of lesbianism.
Coach Eucharia Uche and a former official in the Nigeria Football Federation recently admitted to various publications to having conducted an ongoing witch-hunt to remove women who they believed were lesbians from the Super Falcons team.
“Homosexuality is a dirty thing, spiritually and morally it is very, very wrong,” Uche told Germany’s Bild newspaper.
Now, the International Gay & Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) is calling on FIFA, the international governing body of football, to step in. The Nigerian team is currently taking part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.
“As Nigeria takes to the field in the Women’s World Cup opening game, FIFA needs to give coach Uche the red card: publicly condemn systematic discrimination and take the necessary steps to end homophobia in the league,” said IGLFA on Friday.
Blatter not aware of discrimination against lesbian players
The organisation is backing an online petition condemning “the blatant discrimination, and even termination, of players ‘suspected’ of being gay”.
According to AFP, Tatjana Haenni, FIFA’s head of women’s competitions, said: “I think FIFA has a different point of view [to Uche] and clearly one is against any sort of discrimination, I think that says it all”.
She added: “We will talk to her about exactly what she said and when.”
Controversial FIFA president Sepp Blatter, on the other hand, told reporters in Berlin that he was not aware of the discrimination against lesbian players in the Nigerian team.
In December last year, Blatter was slammed for saying that gay football fans attending the 2022 World Cup in the anti-gay host nation of Qatar should refrain from having sex. He later apologised for the comment.
The Nigerian team lost to France one-nil in the World Cup’s opening game on Sunday. The FIFA site has no reference to the controversy.