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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Groups demand response to Nigerian ban on lesbians in football
From a Federation of Gay Games release
2013-03-06

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Federation of Gay Games ( www.gaygames.org ), joined by the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation ( www.eglsf.info), Football v Homophobia ( www.footballvhomophobia.org ), and AllOut ( www.allout.org ) release a letter March 6 that they have written to Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, the world football (soccer) federation.

The organizations expressed their concern about reports that the Nigerian Football Association has banned lesbian from football in the country.

This follows reports that the coach of the Nigerian team participating in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany explained that she had excluded players presumed to be lesbians from the team (see gaymes.info/fifa20130305 for past action on this). Given the inaction of FIFA following that situation, and the flippant response from FIFA to concerns over their decision to host future World Cups in homophobic countries, the organizations sending this letter believe that FIFA must now take firm action or confirm its reputation as a homophobic organization, in contradiction to its bylaws and the Olympic Charter.

The text of the letter, address to FIFA president Sepp Blatter and FIFA General Secretary JérÃīme Valke, follows:

—————

Dear Sirs,

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. Valke 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. Valke, 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

Emy Ritt (emy.ritt@gaygames.net)

Kurt Dahl (kurt.dahl@gaygames.net):

Co-presidents Federation of Gay Games

Armelle Mazé (armelle@eglsf.info)

Klaus Heusslein (klaus@eglsf.info)

Co-presidents European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation

Lou Englefield (lou@pridesport.org .uk)

Keph Senett (kephsenett@gmail.com )

Football v Homophobia

Guillaume Bonnet (guillaume@allout.org )

André Banks (andre@allout.org )

Allout.org

For information about the Federation of Gay Games, visit www.gaygames.org ..

The ninth edition of the quadrennial Gay Games will be held in Cleveland + Akron, OH 9-16 August , 2014. For information about Gay Games 9, Cleveland 2014, visit www.gg9cle.com .


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