On 29 June, the Federation of Gay Games, the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association, and AllOut.org wrote the following letter to Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA:
Dear Mr. Blatter,
We are writing to express our deep concern about FIFA’s public silence on the recent reports of homophobia and blatant discrimination in the Nigerian national women’s football team.
You are no doubt aware of the accusations, recently reported in the New York Times, of the exclusion of players suspected of being lesbian from this team, and of the practice of the team’s coach of using clerics to attempt to “cure” lesbians. On a continent where “cures” for lesbians include “corrective rape,” this blatant discrimination and purging of otherwise qualified players, is a totally unacceptable interference of religion in sport.
With the support of the signatories of this letter, AllOut.org, the world's largest global LGBT grassroots campaign organization, has collected over 34,000 signatures from around the world to its petition denouncing this behaviour, and calling on FIFA to take action. We are concerned that your continued silence and inaction on this pressing issue could be interpreted as approval and acceptance of these actions, whereas in the past you yourself have said explicitly that FIFA stands firmly against this kind of discrimination.
FIFA and its affiliated organisations are to be commended for the kinds of strong measures taken against racism in football. Unfortunately we have not yet seen the same commitment to take action against homophobia. It is long overdue for FIFA to apply its own rules regarding discrimination, and help insulate the sport from ideological and religious interference that infringes on players rights.
These values are of course not just those of FIFA, but are at the core of the modern international sports movement. The Olympic Charter, Principle 4, says it best:
“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind.”
Sport has rules, and those rules not found in the Bible or the Koran: they are made by sportspeople for sportspeople, for the good of the sport, and with the goal of fair play and inclusion of all under common rules enforced free from bias.
The undersigned urge you to take action quickly, before the end of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, to confirm that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is totally unacceptable, and has no place in “the beautiful game.”
Kurt Dahl and Emy Ritt, co-presidents of the Federation of Gay Games
Klaus Heusslein, co-president of the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association
André Banks, co-founder of AllOut.org