NIGERIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION DENIES LESBIAN BAN

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Nigeria’s national women’s soccer team, the Super Falcons.

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has denied reports that lesbians have been banned from playing in the sport and says it has not been contacted by Fifa about the issue.

It was recently reported that the head of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL), Dilichukwu Onyedinma, announced that the league had formally barred lesbian players from taking part in the sport.

“Any player that we hear is associated with it [lesbianism] will be disqualified,” she was quoted as saying by the Nigerian media at the league’s Annual General Assembly late last month in Abuja.

NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire has now told BBC Sport: “Unfortunately, a section of the media has blown petty speculation out of proportion.

“We have already circulated Onyedinma’s speech at the NWFL’s annual general assembly, clearly she never said anything of the nature that has been alleged,” he claimed.

Olajire further insisted that, “The NWFL chairperson never made such sensitive comments” and asserted that “the NFF are not under any Fifa probe or query”.

In June 2011, ahead of the Women’s World Cup in Germany, it was reported that rumours of lesbianism had led to some players being thrown out of the Nigerian national women’s soccer team, the Super Falcons.

Coach Eucharia Uche told The New York Times that the “dirty issue” of lesbianism in the team had been dealt with thanks to prayer and divine intervention.

In response, Fifa promised to launch an investigation into the reports of homophobia but appears to have never done so.

Last week a number of LGBT sports groups again called on Fifa to intervene in the latest claims of anti-gay policies in Nigerian women’s football or risk itself being branded “a homophobic organisation”.

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria, punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment across the country and death by stoning in 12 states that have adopted Shari’a law.

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