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Friday, 24 June 2011

FIFA targeted after news of ban on lesbian football players

By Paul Canning

The International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA), the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) with AllOut.org, a community of 500,000 people in every country in the world, have launched a campaign calling on football's governing body FIFA to pull out the "red card" on a homophobic witch-hunt of the Nigerian women's football team.

The campaign calls on FIFA to live up to its own ethics guidelines, and publicly condemn the systematic homophobic discrimination by the Nigerian soccer league.

On Wednesday we reported how Coach Eucharia Uche, the former NFF technical assistant Sir James Peters, and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)'s Chief Media Officer, Ademola Olajire, had all bragged to a Nigerian newspaper about driving lesbians out of the women's team.
"When I was drafted to work with the Falcons last year, I decamped some of the players, not because they were not good players, but because they were lesbians. It did not go down well with some of the players because we made sure that neither the 'husband' nor the 'wife' made the team,” Peters said.
"We have seen the result of our efforts and I can tell you that lesbianism is now a thing of the past in the camp of the Super Falcons [the team's nickname]," said Uche
The campaign is asking FIFA president Joseph 'Seph' Blatter to:
"Play by FIFAs own rules, and investigate the harassment and termination of players “suspected” of being gay. Blatter needs to condemn this blatant discrimination, as well as make moves to include sexual orientation and gender identity into FIFA’s anti-discrimination policy."
“FIFA has a truly admirable track record of challenging racism and discrimination,” says Andre Banks, co-founder of AllOut.org.
“Now it’s time to bring soccer in to the 21st century. FIFA can use its hard-earned moral authority to make sure that homophobia also no longer has a place on the playing field.”
"Like anyone else, LGBT people have the right to participate in sport without fear of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity," says Mr Rowland Jide Macaulay, Co-Chair of Pan Africa ILGA (International Lesbian & Gay Association).
"We condemn the action of the Nigerian Football Association in its attempt to bring hatred to the passionate games of football."
FIFA has run a global “Say No to Racism” campaign and in its mission statement states a desire to use the game in, “overcoming social and cultural obstacles for women with the ultimate aim of improving women’s standing in society.”

“Sport can be, must be, a power for good. We must make sure that every athlete has the right to be part of sport’s mission for a better world, regardless of sex, race, religion or sexual orientation,” says Klaus Heusslein, Co-President of IGLFA.
“The right to participate in sport is a human right, a right for everybody, for all Nigerians, for all women, for all whomever they love.”
“The truest values of sport are those of sport for all. This means sport in which everyone is welcome and everyone is safe, whatever their sexual identity and sexual orientation,” says Emy Ritt, co-president of the FGG.
“The actions of the Nigerian team are contrary to our values of participation, inclusion and personal best for all, which should be the values of FIFA and sportspeople everywhere.”
FIFA has earlier been heavily criticised for awarding the Men's Word Cup to Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

The Women’s World Cup competition opens this weekend with a kick-off game between Nigeria and France, followed by a Nigeria vs Germany game 30 June.

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