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By ESPN Staff
Jun 30, 2011

Uche slammed for homophobic remarks

Nigerian women's coach Eucharia Uche has been criticised by FIFA after she branded homosexuality as 'dirty' and admitted she forced lesbians out of her team.

Uche, whose side lost 1-0 to France in their opening game and now take on hosts Germany as they try to seal a quarter-final place, sparked controversy in a New York Times interview in which she claimed being gay was 'spiritually and morally very wrong'.

"Yes, the lesbians in our team were really a big problem," Uche, who took over as Nigeria's coach in 2009, said. ''But since I'm coach of the Super Falcons, that has been cleared up. There are no more lesbian players on my team. I cannot tolerate this dirty life."

However, with FIFA's mission statement saying it wants to use the sport in ''overcoming social and cultural obstacles for women with the ultimate aim of improving women's standing in society'', Tatjana Haenni, FIFA's head of women's competitions, told German television channel ARD: "FIFA is against all forms of discrimination. We are here at a FIFA event and will point out that it would be best to express oneself neutrally."

She added that FIFA will be talking to Uche about her comments and reminding the coach of the governing body's statutes.

But the Nigerians' next match against Germany will now have added bite as reserve goalkeeper Ursula Holl is married to a woman and first-choice shot-stopper Nadine Angerer is openly bisexual.

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