Thursday, 30 June 2011

If FIFA is open to everyone...time to end Nigeria's homophobic practise

FIFA aren't having the best of times in dealing with homophobia in their sport. When they awarded the 2022 World Cup a country where homosexuality is illegal, their 'elected' demagogue Sepp Blatter said, "I'd say they [gay fans] should refrain from any sexual activities." He said when it was rewarded that people were too concerned about a tournament that was 12 years away (of course FIFA had only just awarded their most advanced tournament deal that far in advance.

He did try to clarify his position by saying:

"You see in the Middle East the opening of this culture, it's another culture because it's another religion, but in football we have no boundaries. We [FIFA] open everything to everybody and I think there shall not be any discrimination against any human beings be it on this side or that side, be it left, right or whatever.

"But this gives me the opportunity to say that in Fifa, and this is in the statutes of Fifa, whether it is in politics, whether it is in religion, we don't want racism, and we know what this means, and neither do we want discrimination. What we want is just to open this game to everybody and open it to all cultures and this is what we are doing in 2022."

Eucharia Uche who led the homophobic witch hunt in her squad
So let us go forward less than 12 months and the Women's World Cup, where one of the competing nations Nigeria, has gone on a witch hunt of their team to purge themselves not of bad players but of good players who were lesbians, or merely accused of lesbian activity.

Surely if FIFA truly are open to all they should have condemned this member nation of taking such action. Surely they should have implemented some sanction for a National Federation so openly homophobic to proudly declare that they have eliminated homosexuality from football in their country.

There is a petition to be signed (you don't need to include your mobile phone number as I found) to hold Sepp Blatter to his own words that World Cups are open to all, without prejudice and discrimination.

The President of the German Federation is behind this campaign and has issued the following statement:

"Our association resolutely combats any kind of discrimination. This also includes the fight against homophobia. The current issue around the coach of the Nigerian national team certainly requires further discussion. But this can only be done by the tournament host, which is FIFA."

The Women's World Cup is in full swing and FIFA is trying desperately to make the story go away and even trying to discredit the idea that there is a problem on the Nigerian team. But Nigeria's coach was very  clear when she spoke to The New York Times, when she said  "Homosexuality is a dirty thing, spiritually and morally it is very, very wrong".

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