Furore over Italy football chief’s lesbian slur

Furore over Italy football chief's lesbian slur
Italy's footballers Lisa Boattin and Carlotta Cartellide celebrate after defeating Venezuela in their Fifa U-17 Women's World Cup Costa Rica 2014. Ezequiel Becerra/AFP
An Italian football chief has sparked furore after allegedly describing female footballers as “a handful of lesbians”.

Felice Belloli, the head of the national amateur league, allegedly made the comments during a meeting in March with the board of the league’s women’s department to discuss funding women’s football, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported.

“That’s enough, we can’t always talk about giving money to this handful of lesbians,” he allegedly said.

The comments were recorded in the minutes of the meeting, and sent to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), which is mulling whether to open an investigation.

But Belloli has denied the allegations, telling Ansa that it needs to be proven that the comments came from him.

Valeria Fedeli, the vice president of Italy’s Senate took to Twitter to condemn the comments.

“Sexism and homophobia are a serious problem in football,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, Luisa Rizzitelli, the president of Assist, the national association for female athletes, called on Belloli to immediately resign and for the football federation, as well as premier Matteo Renzi, to support the request.

“We don’t consider the word ‘lesbian’ to be offensive, but in this context it is unacceptable and homophobic,” she was quoted by Tutto Sport as saying.

“Obviously, the Italian women’s team winning bronze in the World Cup last year is not enough for him to respect athletes in this discipline, their coaches and managers.”