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
André Banks (email@example.com)
AND NOW FOR THE LATEST NEWS AND IT SEEMS THAT WORLD PRESSURE WORKS!
The Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) have sensationally back-tracked on the allegations that ‘Gay players’ have been banned from participating in the Nigerian Women’s League. Board member of the NFF and Head of the Nigeria Women’s league,Dilichukwu Onyedinma,was quoted to have said that there was zero tolerance of Lesbians in the Women’s football circle in Nigeria It was even reported that World Football governing body,FIFA, petitioned the NFF seeking clarification on the stand.
But image maker of the NFF,Ademola Olajire,while speaking to BBC Sport,refuted such insinuations,adding that it was blown out of proportion. Unfortunately, a section of the media has blown petty speculation out of proportion,” Olajire said.
“The NFF never received any letter or query from FIFA,” he added. 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,” Olajire pointed out.
“The NWFL chairperson never made such sensitive comments and the NFF are not under any FIFA probe or query.”It is a delicate situation for FIFA,and one that could box them in a corner.
Under Nigerian law,Homosexuality is deemed as illegal, and what is being left for it to be effectively passed into law is the signature of President Goodluck Jonathan. We would like to see President Goodluck Johnson lead Nigerians into the acceptance of all as basic human beings needing the love and respect of their fellow citizens. Such enlightenment can only bring Nigeria the respect of most nations where their citizens rights are protected under law and basic human dignity is afford to all.
It is left to be seen,what would become of this situation,and the stance of FIFA on this issue. AND, of course, what is to stop lesbian persecution in soccer out of the open and behind closed doors and in locker rooms?