Members of the Super Falcons team
FIFA has launched an investigation into reports of homophobia by officials from Nigeria’s national football women’s team.
In June, Coach Eucharia Uche and a former official from the Nigeria Football Federation boasted of having conducted a purge of 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.
The issue made international headlines just before the Women’s World Cup kicked off in Germany that same month and FIFA, the international governing body of football, was called on to step in.
The campaign was backing by an online petition, signed by almost 47,000 people, hosted by the online activist network AllOut.org condemning “the blatant discrimination, and even termination, of players ‘suspected’ of being gay”.
On Friday, AllOut.org said that FIFA’s Secretary General JÃ©rÃ´me Valcke had confirmed in writing that FIFA “will begin gathering evidence in an investigation into the homophobic remarks and policies of head Nigerian Football Coach Eucharia Uche”.
Andre Banks, the co-founder of AllOut.org, said in a statement: “We are excited to see FIFA take a first, critical step in that direction.
“By launching an immediate probe into Coach Uche’s homophobic statements, the international governing body of soccer is sending a clear and important message: homophobia has no place in football, on or off the field.”