Zambian football bosses are considering this gay protection clause

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) is considering a new constitution that would protect players from anti-gay discrimination.

The rulebook is being reviewed following pressure to fall in line with football’s world governing body, FIFA.

The draft constitution circulated by Faz reads: “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.”

Same-sex sexual activity is strictly prohibited in Zambia, carrying prison sentences of up to 14 years.

FIFA rules mean players can be suspended or expelled from football for discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The move by Zambian football bosses comes after FIFA punished seven national teams for homophobic chants used at international tournaments.

Landilani Banda, a lecturer at the University of Zambia, told the BBC the new FAZ constitution doesn’t undermine the country’s own rules around homosexuality.

“The position is that the law in Zambia does not criminalise homosexuality. What the law criminalises is sodomy which is termed as ‘offences against the order of nature.’

“Sodomy is when a person has sexual intercourse with a person of the same sex.

“In light of the above, it’s perfectly alright for Faz to include a clause which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Banda.

“The Fifa position is in line with international human rights standards which prohibit discrimination on the basis on sexual orientation. Zambia should also be bound by these same standards.”

The Zambian government has refused to decriminalise homosexuality as recently as 2014, calling it an “affront to Christianity and the constitution.”