Nigeria Bans Lesbians From Women’s Soccer League

by Sholeh Hajmiragha

The Nigeria Women Football League has announced an official ban of lesbians from Nigerian women’s soccer.  Dilichukwu Onyedinma, a member of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) announced earlier this week that “Any player that we find is associated with [lesbianism] will be disqualified.”

 The ban violates FIFA’s anti-discrimination policies, which states “Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.”  However, homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, which therefore complicates matters in terms of the ban’s legitimacy against FIFA’s policy.

 Two years ago the women team’s coach Eucharia Uche reportedly “eradicated homosexuality” from the team, telling the New York Times, “The lesbians in our team were really a big problem.  But since I’m the coach of the Super Falcons that has been cleared up.  There are no more lesbian players on my team.  I cannot tolerate this dirty life.”

 FIFA has emphasized that it has made a preliminary inquiry into the ban.  However, gay rights groups, including The Federation of Gay Games, the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation, Football v Homophobia, and AllOut have stated that they have written to FIFA concerning this ban, and are urging the organization to take firm action.

Sources: SheWired, FIFA, International Business Times

Images via: Confederation of African Football, International Business Times

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