Spurred by allegations that Nigeria’s women’s soccer coach Eucharia Uche led a “witch hunt” to oust players suspected of being lesbians the international gay rights organization AllOut.org is calling for FIFA to publicly condemn homophobia, beginning with a full investigation of Uche’s coaching policies.
The group has also named July 13, a “Day Against Discrimination,” on which they will hold a "gay rights" flashmob in front of the stadium in Frankfurt, Germany prior to the opening whistle of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Semi-Final, according to an AllOut press release.
Uche, a self-described Christian and a married mother of two who has previously played in the World Cup for Nigeria, landed smack on AllOut’s radar when the New York Times published an article documenting her homophobic comments and practices, including her admission of having used religion in an attempt to rid her team of homosexual behavior, which she has called a “a dirty issue” that is “spiritually, morally very wrong.”
“The issue of lesbianism is common,” Uche has said according to the NY Times. “I came to realize it is not a physical battle; we need divine intervention in order to control and curb it. I tell you it worked for us. This is a thing of the past. It is never mentioned.”
A statement from FIFA following the dust-up over Uche’s comments says that she denies having making homophobic remarks and then went on to say, without mentioning Uche specifically, that FIFA’s governing body is “actively committed to fighting against all kinds of discrimination within football and within society as a whole.”
Unmoved by what AllOut organizers perceive to be FIFA’s tepid response to Uche, AllOut kicked off a petition to hold FIFA, Uche, and all coaches accountable for wiping out homophobia in soccer. Since launching the campaign and petition last week more than 45,000 people have signed.