Nearly 50,000 people have signed a petition that calls on FIFA to take action against homophobia in football following the recent comments of a women’s football coach in Nigeria.

AllOut’s petition was set up after Dilichukwu Onyedinma, chair of the Nigerian Women Football League and a member of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) executive committee said lesbians had been banned from playing professional football in Nigeria.

NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire later denied the statement.

Audio of Onyedinma’s inital comments can be heard online.

On its website campaign group AllOut said: “FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, has real moral authority – from its courageous stand against apartheid in South Africa, to its recent ‘Say No to Racism’ campaign.

“That’s why in light of the blatant discrimination, and even termination, of players ‘suspected’ of being gay, FIFA must publicly condemn this systematic discrimination, investigate the harassment, and take the necessary steps to end homophobia in the league.”

In December 2010, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was forced to apologise for saying that gay football fans should avoid having sex in Qatar – in light of the country’s draconian anti-gay laws.

Qatar hosts the World Cup in 2022.