FIFA queries Nigeria over reports of lesbian soccer ban
March 8, 2013 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Lesbian players could be banned from the Nigeria national team according to reports from the West Africa country.
- FIFA writes to Nigerian federation over "lesbian ban"
- World governing body seeking more information
- Reports claim lesbians to be outlawed from national league
- Homosexuality is already illegal in Nigeria
(CNN) -- FIFA has written to the Nigerian Football Federation to seek clarification over reports that lesbians have been banned from playing in the West Africa nation.
A spokesperson for the world governing body told CNN Friday that a letter had been sent requesting more information.
"This is not a FIFA investigation, but a preliminary step, fully in line with how any normal procedure would be conducted by FIFA's Disciplinary Department," the spokesperson said.
"Until we establish more details, we cannot speculate on any sanctions, or indeed any next steps."
Earlier this week, reports in Nigeria quoted Dilichukwu Onyedinma, head of the country's women's football league, who said lesbian players should be ostracized.
Ljungberg: 'I was called gay'
"Any player that we find is associated with it will be disqualified," she was quoted as saying.
"We will call the club chairmen to control their players, and such players will not be able to play for the national team."
Read: U.S. soccer star 'comes out' as gay, then retires
Her reported comments drew a storm of protest for Gay Rights campaigners, and a number of groups said they had written to FIFA president Sepp Blatter about the alleged ban.
"The organizations expressed their concern about reports that the Nigerian Football Association has banned lesbians from football in the country," the Federation of Gay Games website reported.
"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.
"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."
Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes threatens stiff punishments for individuals or national federations if the code, which focuses on discrimination and racism, is broken.
"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," it reads.
Any action which FIFA might choose to take could be complicated by Nigerian law, under which homosexuality is already illegal.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.