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Monday, May 11, 2015

11.05.1985 Always Remember-A personal story.


                                 11.05.1985 Always Remember  - A personal story.        

Last home game of the Football League season holds a number of differing memories for myself as a life long football supporter. Happy ones such as a last gasp win against Liverpool FC in 2000 to secure Premier League survival  make the summer weekends awaiting the start of the next season a little more bearable. But, for 30 years now even these great moments have been overshadowed by ingrained memories of the events of11.05.1985.On what should have been a triumphant day in the clubs history it will always remain as a day of tragedy not just for the football clubs of Bradford City and Lincoln City and respective towns but also one of the darkest days ever in the beautiful game's history and the worst day of my life as a football fan. Only 5 days earlier City had been crowned Division 3 Champions with a 2-0 win at Bolton, local hero Stuart McCall scoring the 2nd goal.

                            ( Stuart scores me and friends celebrating on the terraces.)


It's strange how every year around the end of the season my childhood recollections stirred by my thoughts remembering 'the 56' seem to grow and this year 30 years on from the fire that day those recollections have become even more vivid.
My very first experience of live professional football came when I visited Valley Parade for the first time on April 12th 1975 for Bradford City's home game v Lincoln City. Bradford City, my home town team lost the game 1-2 but I was hooked for life on becoming a 'Parader'and wearing the unique to the football league colours of claret and amber. Little did I know that a decade later I would be attending a game once more against Lincoln City, this time as a teenager and come away thankfully with no more than cuts and bruises physically, but also with mental scars with life changing thoughts and feelings.

         (9 years old in claret and amber)
The first interests in football I had as I recall came some months earlier along side a great love for music, I am unsure as to which came first my love of music or my love of football, maybe, they came hand in hand. I grew up in the small Yorkshire Village of Queensbury, and spent many summers across the valley at my Gran's home (in Thornton village) which was sandwiched between a farm and a stables and opposite an Archery field , the latter of which had grass much more finely cut than surrounding fields and made an excellent area to 'keep goal.'
My skills between the sticks on the Archery field on a weekend developed quickly here and I transferred them to the junior school playground (being the only girl in school to compete amongst the boys) during play time and diner time in the coming weeks.
Two 'matches' in particular are this year in my memory as they were the only two games from childhood in which I remember scoring, only 2 you say, well I was a goalkeeper! The first came while defending the 'track end' small goals around 3'6" high painted on the school yard perimeter wall alongside a dirt track. From a goal kick the ball was passed back to me and for some reason I decided to go forward with the ball at my feet and take on a couple of defenders, rounding these player with ease, somehow, I then looked up and seeing the opposition keeper on the edge of the six yard box I lofted the ball over him sweet as you like and in to the far top right corner. The next  goal over a year later came while shooting towards the 'track end' our team earned a corner, and I came up for it, made myself some space and drifted in at the back post to nod home. Disbelief and shock came from all around followed by comments like " what just happened there? well? who was marking Lindsay?"

Bradford City and Valley Parade soon became my second home, school holidays were spent making tea alongside the apprentice's (some of whom were my school pals) for first team at training, and helping out Roy the groundsman prepare the pitch over the summer, and then clearing 3-4 foot of snow from the playing surface on a regular basis during the winter months to make sure that the games went ahead.

                                                                               ( With school pal and City legend Stuart McCall)
Saturday 11th May 1985 started out much like any other regular Saturday, though on this day the routine began a little earlier to accommodate having to be at the ground in time to gain entry with an expected crowd of double the regular attendance and save seats for a couple friends who were working that morning, getting a space on the Midland Road side of the ground with a good view of an parade of the trophy by the players pre-match and then what should have been a whole weekend of celebration to follow.
The usual trip to HMV record store and visits to the Junction and Smithy pubs to warm up the party atmosphere before a game were replaced by a meet with fellow fans at the Birdcage, move on to the Queens, then some lunch and a quick pint at either Bradford Arms or Connaught Rooms and head up to Valley Parade in time for the turnstiles to open became the itinerary for the day. I can recall exactly what I was wearing that day even though it was 30 years ago such is the vivid recollection of that tragic event. I wasn't dressed in usual football match gear but rather more appropriate 'playing out' clothing,( my toned down punk look of pants and top from the famous World's End shop on London's Kings Road in a pastel biscuit shade and new baby blue zip Clarke's Loafers)  as we were staying in town after the match to party and would then meet up with the players and staff and head straight on to the night clubs.
On arrival at the ground friends and myself entered through the back of the main stand and into the paddock area, as the fans began to filter though in some numbers we made our way to front couple of rows of G block to save the seats for my friends brothers and then we would make our way around the opposite side of the ground where we could watch from a touchline wall near the halfway line rather than our regular spots behind fencing on the Spion Kop and Bradford End depending on which way the team was kicking towards. I should point out at this stage "seats" in the main stand were no more than long wooden benches with a small line every now and then with a faded painted number every now and then, and fan segregation only happened for 'big' games so you could walk around 3 sides of the ground. Our plan was watching from the Midland Road side we could at final whistle get on the pitch quicker and get over to the tunnel area, there we would wait for the players to come out onto the balcony above and spray us with champagne and throw down their shirts for us to hopefully catch.
Around 25 minutes before KO the boys took their seats in the main stand and we made our way round to our vantage point. The players paraded the Division 3 trophy to a packed Valley Parade and local Yorkshire ITV cameras who were covering the match as a football highlights special that weekend.
The sunny May day brightened the on field play of the first half, City were already champions so the tackles were hardly flying in everyone was conserving energies for a party later. As half time approached songs from the Spion Kop increased, and lots of movement of people in the main stand opposite us intensified the cheering fans even more. Smoke appeared small white tufts at first,then we could see flames, we became alarmed as the boys were in those seats and people began to spill onto the the side of the pitch in the corner in front of the paddock, the smoke turns a little greyer and the flames fanned out both up and across the stand, people in there tried to climb the paddock wall, but the stand side of it was around chest high and was therefore quiet difficult for the young and old to attempt this, we saw them head back up the stand towards the back.
By now the referee had stopped play and was instructing the players to make their way back to the tunnel, many people, hundreds were now on the pitch. Only now did it really hit home for me the full scales of what was unfolding in front of me. I climed over the wall onto the pitch, like many I tried to find friends who I knew would be in that part of the ground. It was chaos everywhere, fans from all sides of the ground were now on the pitch, we stood looking on feeling helpless at not being able to reach out and offer a hand to those trying to escape the fire which had in just a couple of minutes enraged across the whole back and roof of the stand as one huge fire ball. We were driven back halfway across the pitch by the sheer heat. It was like standing too close with your potato on a stick on bonfire night, your skin tingled and clothing became warm . People were screaming and crying out for help as either they were on fire or trying to put out flames on someone and catching alight themselves. Many people had lumps of roof tar which had dropped, melted then solidified and stuck to their bodies. The police on duty that day tried to keep people back away from the stand, others braved their way forward in an attempt he rescue anyone coming over the wall. I remember people being carried and placed in the goals at the Bradford End, dozens of others using coats and jumpers to try smother the flames.
In just over 4 minutes the main stand at Valley Parade was alight and thousands had to make their escape. I remember seeing some of the players and club staff on the balcony above the tunnel dropping their babies and children to be caught by folk waiting below, and in turn joining the rest of us in the middle of the pitch. I remember looking back to where we had been stood watching the game from several minutes earlier, and fans where shouting up to the shed of commentators and TV camera crew asking them to stop filming, some even picked up bricks and threw at them. As much as it was hurting people there to witness such horrors, the TV crews carrying on filming were only doing their jobs.
The sky became very grey very quickly, and thick black smoke billowed from the steel uprights of the stand.Thankfully there was no wind that day to fan the flames any more or any further than what was already occurring. The smoke began to effect everyone on the pitch and as it became more apparent that some people 3 maybe 4 or 5 had lost their lives many of us turned to look for a way out over the corners of the Kop and far end of the Bradford End down the old 'cat steps' on to Midland Road. Leaving the ground was taking some time, no one hurried, no one pushed, no one really seemed to panic, I think everyone was just in so much socked at what they were witnessing. More and more people were helping others to safety alongside the emergency services, who in turn were doing everything they could to try and contain the fire and smoke.It was then that the reality and the enormity of what was unfolding began to hit home, the rescued people layed on the pitch were still, lifeless, clothing was placed over their heads and you knew they had died and that the body count could be as much as 10 maybe more. it was time to leave. But, how? where?

         ( Bradford City fire 11th May 1985)

There were large ques forming to leaving down earth banking's and it wasn't very safe. I relocated all my friends who I had spent the morning with we decided to make our way out of the Bradford End exits when they became open. This meant going a little closer to the engulfed stand but we new we could get out on to the street pretty quickly that way. The exit doors at that end were much like a barn door, and were locked down just after kick off weren't open ed until around 15 minutes before the end of a match. We kicked at the wood panels and broke down a gap of around 18 inches or so, just enough to scramble under and get out of. I guess several hundred left that same way, then the gates and locks were broken down and opened and more people couple leave. Everyone was in shock. Nothing much was said,There wasn't much panic just disbelief at what had happened. We made our way to the back of the brick building in the corner of Valley Parade road ,some of the players and staff had gathered there, all still in kit, one or two with a blanket around them or a blazer. They were trying to find family and friends.
I made my way down a side street with some friends and we waited sat on a wall, hoping our other friends would find us as this was the way we would usually leave after a game and head off back into town. I'm not sure how long we waited maybe an hour or so, the ground was still full of black smoke, it seemed as if every fire and rescue and ambulance in the country was in attendance. I saw many people I knew asking if we had seen their family members and friends. We decided to take a couple of our younger friends back in to town so they could find a phone box and either arrange for a lift or reassure family they were ok and make their way home. So, we headed off on foot and decided to regroup back at the Birdcage Pub in the interchange which had been our meeting point that morning. After an hour or so of being at the Birdcage, we all decided it would be best to try make our way home. Travel on public transport would be difficult we knew with all the disruption, but we thought this best. One of our group was still missing. It was some several weeks later we got confirmation he was ok, he was one of many who had wondered off in shock that day and had been missing for days/ weeks on end.
I remember getting home to Queensbury and regrouping with a few friends, We were lost for what to do so went our separate ways to go home and change from the smoke stained clothing we were in Everyone in the village was asking what had happened, none of us felt like talking about things we had seen that day I went round to my best friends house, still filling up with tears, trying to make any sense of what had being going on. It all seemed so unreal, It wasn't a dream it had happened I was sure of that but it didn't seem real. As I watched the footage on the BBC  9 o'clock news I filled up again. I remember someone saying "It's no good crying about it there's nothing you can do."
For several days following sleep was a cat nap here and there. I went into work Monday morning, my boss game over and said " anytime you feel like it and you want to walk out, just do so I don't mind." No one asked me what happened in work, they were all in shock at what they has seen on TV or read over the weekend on the papers, I would not have been able to speak about what had happened that day anyhow. When the final numbers of how many people had died were released things hit me once again. I had been luck to be able to leave with cuts and bruises. many people I knew had major injuries, many had lost loved ones. My best friend at the time was taken quiet ill a couple of days later and was in hospital with many of the injured from that day so I was hard going in to visit for several weeks, and being constantly reminded of the horror I had witnessed that day in May.
I did what I could collection wise to help raise funds for the burns unit over the following months.
I never made it to the opening match  at Valley Parade when the ground was rebuilt, I couldn't go, not just to watch City, but to any football for several years. I gave up playing and took up rugby league instead. This was my way of dealing with things. I attended the memorials held every year on 11th May for the first 15 years,  then I missed a few due to work commitments. I try to make the last home game of the season when ever possible as I have done this time around for the 30th anniversary.
Its hard at times to think about what happened that day, let alone talk about it. Its just as hard trying to forget. Every year remembering the 56 football fans who went to a match and never came home brings back more vivid memories of those days and my childhood love of football.
Valley Parade will always be my second home and I hope that one day enough money is found by the club, the City of Bradford or someone in football to buy the ground out right and give ownership to the club and fans as a permanent reminder of those 56 fans who lost their lives.




The 56-RIP always remember.

Lindsay England.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Partner Club Manchester Canalsiders ARL in the spotlight.



                                    Partner Club Manchester Canalsiders RL in the spotlight.

As part of our LGBT History Month events this year we did some coaching sesssion work with our partner club Manchester Canalsiders ARL. Alongside this our Mascot CASTRO went along to a filming day and featured in the Canalsiders promo video.





 It's Here .... Project Awesome ....
Watch the new Manchester Canalsiders ARLFC Recruitment Video promoting Rugby League which is Awesome. Want to have a go why not come along to our next training session Saturday 10am Wright Robinson Sports College Gorton Manchester.
Everyone is welcome at Canalsiders regardless of Age, Ability. We are a fully inclusive team and have teams for both Ladie's & Gent's, Full Contact to Non Contact we have versions of Rugby League for everyone.
This video is dedicated to Lisa Nuttall one of our team mate's who sadly passed away suddenly last weekend. RIP Lisa a lovely lady, a great player who will be missed.
We'd like this video to go Viral and show the world that Rugby League is Awesome whether you're at a Grass Roots Club or Super League, we hope everyone on the page will share this and use ‪#‎RLisAwesome‬ ‪#‎RLNewEra‬
Thank you to Andy Green who filmed this for the Club from Manchester Vault visit their You Tube Channel here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-irbDtU4hR0sLotSoLogmQ


Canalsiders events can been seen here:  https://www.facebook.com/MCRCanalsiders/events







If you would like to try something active come along and try new sports including Rugby League with Manchester Canalsiders ARLFC. We are also holding a Youth Rugby League / Euro Tag Training Sessions & Tournamnet as part of Sports May if you know any 13-18 year olds that would like to take part drop us a message and we'll let you have all the info, Posters & Flyers coming soon.

We are also delighted to announce that Manchester Canalsiders ARLFC have been awarded a Manchester Pride have awarded the club a Community Grant. These funds will be used to get LGBT people into Sport including Younger LGBT Youths & Women who may feel that as an LGBT person / Female there is no room for them in Sport, our aim is to create an environment where everyone is welcome regardless of Age, Gender, Sex or religion.
We are looking forward to using these funds to help devlop our community and the people within it get fit, have fun and make new friends.We would like to thank the Manchester Pride Community Panel for selecting our club and awarding us this grant

If you are interested in joining the club, whether to play or volunteer please email recruitment@canalsiders.co.uk


Friday, April 17, 2015






                                                   JUST A BALL GAME? AGM 2015.







Nite Nite Hotel
18 Holliday Street, B1 1TB Birmingham, United Kingdom


12:30pm -14:30pm Saturday 18th April 2015
This year's JBG? AGM will be held on Saturday 18th April at Nite Nite Hotel Birmingham.
All are welcome.



                                   

Sunday, March 15, 2015

JBG? Ladies qualify for FA Futsal Cup Finals


                                             JBG? Ladies qualify for FA Futsal Cup Finals

After a marathon 20+ week league season JBG? Ladies Futsal Team secured a place in the FA North Semi Finals of the Futsal Cup. The team were placed in Group B alongside Liverpool Futsal Ladies, Middlesbrough Ladies FC and Loughborough and finished as group winners and now progress to the FA Futsal Cup Finals which will be played in London in June at the iconic Copper Box Arena home to many of GB's Olympians in 2012.






The JBG? Ladies narrowly lost their first game 2-3 to Liverpool Futsal Ladies and were disappointed that this was due to a refereeing technicality, the JBG? team dominated possession throughout with Chantelle Parry scoring a brace.
Next up were Loughborough who had hit 5 in their opening game. Once again JBG? controlled the game, this time team manager Steph Ashton-Smith popping up with a fine hat trick and Ali Hindley adding a forth. The Loughborough team worked hard with a 2v 1 upfront to close down the scoreline but JBG? earned 3 points with in the end a comfortable 4-2 win.

So, with all 4 teams on 3 points each there was a big 'cup final' to be played out in the last game between FA WPL team Middlesborough Ladies FC and JBG? with a win needed to progress.
The 'Boro Ladies started strongly and raced into 3-1 lead at half time. It was the JBG? indiscipline letting them down with them being reduced to 4 players when Ali Hindley was ordered from the field of play after receiving 2 yellow cards in quick succession. The JBG? Ladies dug in and forced the score back level to 3-3 with just a further 4 minutes left on the clock. As the team were about to call a time-out keeper Leanne Ashton-Smith made a fantastic double save but in doing so was knocked unconscious and play was help up for several minutes while treatment was given. Ashton-Smith was deemed fine to continue and the game was restarted.
The JBG? Ladies pushed forward at every opportunity and brushed the woodwork on no less than 3 occasions. Then with just 1m 49 seconds left on the clock, the pressure was rewarded and defender Melissa Cook found inspiration and in turn the back of the net to make the final score 4-3 and JBG? Ladies were had booked their place in the  FA Futsal Cup Finals 2015.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Media story from our new partner club PNE Women.





PNE Ladies strike up just a ball game? partnership



JBG? Founder Lindsay England with PNE manager Luke Podmore after establishing the link-up.
Preston North End Women are delighted to be able to confirm a partnership with Just A Ball Game? ahead of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History month, next month.

The partnership will see the club become an official club partner with the organisation, who were set up to challenge homophobia in sport.

JBG have kindly presented the club with a range of their merchandise which will now be displayed at our home games with the team wearing JBG t-shirts in the warm up.

The partnership comes just days before LGBT History month, which is held every February in the UK. It first started in America, with them holding it in October every year, and over time has become more and more popular within the UK. LGBT History month is a chance to celebrate people in the past, people in the present and the future who have been LGBT.

PNE Manager Luke Podmore was one of the first people at the club to be involved with the organisation of the partnership and thinks it’s another great campaign to be associated with.

“It’s a great organisation to be involved with. Like I’ve said in the past when we’ve worked with Stonewall, football is a great carrier of messages and it’s great that we can now help them reach out to people and raise awareness of what they do.”

“Alongside us there are a few other clubs at a similar level to us that are involved with Just A Ball Game? With us being higher up the footballing pyramid, we are able to reach quite a wide audience and I think teams like us have a responsibility of passing these messages on to combat homophobia in sport. Hopefully more clubs will now follow suit and promote the good work the organisation is doing.”

PNE players Chelsea Flanagan (l) and Nikki Emery (r) with Lindsay England after the partnership was confirmed.
Lindsay England, the founder of Just A Ball Game?, believes that the partnership will already help build an ever growing list of club’s supporting the campaign.

“It’s very encouraging for another women’s side to come on board and join forces with us. It’s great that we’ve got a campaign out there that is challenging homophobia in sport and, at the same time, raise awareness about LGBT issues. The more teams that come on board, the merrier and we need to build on what we call a gay/straight alliance. It doesn’t matter to us if anybody that supports our campaign identifies themselves as LGBT or whether they identify themselves as being straight, the more people on board supporting us, the better.”

“It’s very important to us that clubs high up in the pyramid support the campaign because we all need those role models, especially in the women’s game as it’s very hard to break through in what is such a male dominated sport like football. Birmingham City are the only team in the Women’s Super League to support us and we need those role models higher up supporting what we do because it shows that people are respected in the game. Lianne Sanderson and Casey Stoney are two of the stars at international level that have  come out, along with our patron Andie Worrall, and it shows they’re not afraid of showing who they are and are also great role models for young LGBT that might be a bit shy in telling their friends or their parents. It gives them someone to look up at and aim to be like and say ‘look these people are in that environment and they are happy’ and ultimately it should lead them to become a better player or better all-round person.”

For more information about what Just A Ball Game? do, visit their website - http://www.justaballgame.co.uk/



TUC launch toolkit for unions to tackle homophobia in football- with JBG?



 

TUC launches toolkit for unions to tackle homophobia in football


A toolkit designed to stamp out homophobia in football is being launched today (Wednesday) by the TUC as part of a concerted action by unions and their allies.
The toolkit is to help unions challenge the prejudice faced by many LGBT people in football and wider sport. It was written and designed by members of the TUC alliance against homophobia and transphobia in football in association with The Professional Footballers Association (PFA), the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Just a Ball Game? – a campaign which challenges homophobia and promotes LGBT participation in sport.
The toolkit includes practical ideas and advice for union members on how they can best tackle homophobia at club level and what kind of resources they may need.
The toolkit will be launched at the TUC’s headquarters by Frances O’Grady, the TUC General Secretary, with members of the alliance including Gordon Taylor from the PFA, Maria Exall, chair of the TUC LGBT committee, and Lindsay England from Just a Ball Game? The launch is also being supported by Stonewall, the Gay Football Supporters’ Federation and the Inclusion Adviser at the Football Association.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:





”Unions are continuing to do outstanding work promoting equality at work and in society in general. This toolkit will help them reinforce the message that there is absolutely no place for homophobia in football or indeed any kind of sport.
“Union activists have used this approach at a number of professional clubs in the past and we want to build on those successes.”
The event will take place at 1pm at TUC headquarters, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS.


- The TUC alliance toolkit Tackling Homophobia in Football can be found at http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality-issues/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-rights/tackling-homophobia-football
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
 
 http://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/TacklingHomophobiaToolkit.pdf



Thursday, January 01, 2015

Sunday, December 07, 2014

ARE LESBIAN NIGERIAN FOOTBALLERS SILENCED BY LAW TO ALLOW THEM TO COMPETE AT 2015 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP?










ArE Lesbian Nigerian footballers silenced by law to allow them to compete at 2015 Women’s world Cup?



Is it time for FIFA to stand up and be counted and insist on fairy play and ethics for all at the Women’s World Cup to be held in Canada 2015?

Last night (07.12.14) saw millions of people the world over watch the draw for the group games of the WWC 2015 and Nigeria will face USA, Australia and Sweden in group D. The Canadians also held the Women’s U20’s World Cup earlier this year and saw Germany beat Nigeria 1-0 in the final, but the silence from FIFA was defining on allowing the Super Falcon’s side to compete at all despite FIFA in 2013 stating they would investigate fully should a ruling be brought in around forbiddance of their players to be openly homosexual with the expected signing of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition Bill) into Nigerian law. 

The introduction of this law also means that Nigeria’s players who engage in nothing more than conversation, share a visit to watch a game or who participate with in duties alongside fellow competitors in the Women’s World Cup (many of whom are publically open about their sexual orientation) or engage with fans who are from an LGBT community will be breaking the said law.

Part of the Act reads: “A person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations; directly or indirectly makes public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment, and anyone convicted of entering into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union faces up to 14 years imprisonment.”
That law came into effect dated 7th January 2014 when it was signed by Nigeria’s President -Goodluck Jonathan.

Around four years ago news began to break that a coach of Nigeria’s International Women’s Football had sacked lesbian players from the team. A few months later this news was confirmed when Super Falcons coach, Eucharia Uche stirred the hornets’ nest when she made a remark regarding her position on ‘lesbianism’ during the lead up to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“Yes, the lesbians in our team were really a big problem,” she said. “But since I am coach of the Super Falcons, that has been cleared up. There are no more lesbians on my team; I cannot tolerate this dirty life.” 

For her bluntness, she drew the ire of FIFA and a number of international gay groups. She was cautioned by the world football governing body, which through its head of Women’s competition, Tatjana Haenni said, “FIFA is against all forms of discrimination”.

The Nigeria Football Federation NFF in 2013 denied  that Uche had stated any of this and also commented that they had  not been under any FIFA probe or query.
The NFF’s Chief Media Officer, Ademola Olajire, was also quoted to have said.
“We all know of these vices, because lesbianism has become a thing of common knowledge that the female footballers no more hide it among themselves. However, those who indulge in the nasty act had promised to stop it and the NFF is putting measures in place to ensure that they keep to their promises.”










One former Nigerian football player, Chichi Igbo who is openly lesbian and not ashamed of her sexual orientation who now plays in Denmark says “I know how different I am. I love me just the way I am with all my imperfections and flaws and I owe nobody any explanation and won’t apologise for who I am.” Unfortunately none of her LGBT colleagues based in Nigeria are able to do the same and speak out.


Former National Athletics coach, Amelia Edet and Football coach, Joy Etim have been unanimous in their support for the bill.
“I think the President is doing the right thing because it (homosexuality) is something that is so common. It’s an old thing that has always been, even in sports; but it is not something that should be accepted. It is a welcome development and it is left for us as Nigerians to say that we are supporting the decision that he is taking,” Edet said.

Etim agreed. “It (homosexuality) should be criminalized. We want people to know that it is not good for sports men and women because if not tackled on time, it will become as widespread as cultism in Nigerian higher institutions”, she said.
Coach Edet agrees that a high number of female athletes engage in lesbianism, going by her years of experience with the Falcons and female track and field athletes.
“I had a problem when I was with the first set of our female footballers because some of them happened to be lesbians.” 

Football coach, Etim agreed that the trend is widespread in sports. She however voiced fears at the early age some players now get involved in the act. “They need to be lectured about what lesbianism is and to be told that it is bad. It is rampant”, she said.
“I happened to interview some girls who came from outside Lagos and these girls were from a village and I had to tell them what it means and the repercussions that follow. Some of them are as young as 13 years. If you want to know them, they look and walk like boys, and even call themselves ‘Fine boys’ and you will know who plays the role of the male and the role of the female.”
Etim said, “I played football during the mid-eighties to early nineties and it wasn’t common during our time. But now it is too much. When I served as a coach with the national team, I heard there were a lot of them in the team but I was more focused on the technical aspect of the job.
“It is likely that it was going on but because they were big girls, they wouldn’t do it where I will see them.  Some of them would even go as far as paying for hotels outside the camp so there was little anyone could do.

Dilichukwu Onyedinma, was appointed by the NFF in October (2014) as deputy head of Fair play and Ethics, and is the person who caused international controversy with her campaign to drive lesbians out of Nigerian football a year ago when she stated: “Yeah, we don’t tolerate lesbianism and we always discuss it whenever we meet. We always warn clubs and club chairmen, to please tell their players to desist from it, because any player that we pick for national competitions, and we hear a little story that is involved in that, we disqualify the player.” 

As of yet nothing has been explained as to how Onyedinma’s views and discriminatory actions can be reconciled with her duties as deputy head of the NFF Committee of Ethics and Fair Play and Article Three of the FIFA Statutes which aim to abolish all forms of discrimination in football.
FIFA : “Discrimination of any kind against a Country, private person or group of people on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.”

Is it not now time for FIFA to take a zero tolerance towards member countries and their employees who are seen to be discriminatory on many occasions and bring in sanctions against these people and ultimately the country FA’s and ban them from competing on the world’s greatest stage in football of a World Cup Finals?