World Cup - Face of FIFA's anti-racism drive accused of homophobia

Ex-Brazil captain Lucio, who has been accused of homophobia after allegedly taunting a rival as being "gay" in a Brazilian first division match, will this week front FIFA's pre-World Cup anti-discrimination campaign.

World Cup - Face of FIFA's anti-racism drive accused of homophobia

View photo

Lucio Sao Paulo NOT in Bra

Botafogo forward Emerson accused Lucio of "calling me gay, as if I were a monster" during the Botafogo-Palmeiras clash on May 28. He made the comments on television after the players clashed in Botafogo's 2-0 win.

Lucio responded by telling reporters, "If he said I said that then he should prove it."

Lucio, a high-profile evangelical Christian who was a member of the Brazil team that won the 2002 World Cup, was chosen to front FIFA's campaign that kicks off this week ahead of the 2014 tournament.

The campaign encourages fans to post selfies on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #SayNoToRacism.

"A random selection of (these) will be shown before kick-off on the giant screens in the stadiums before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil quarter-finals (Brasilia national stadium, Fonte Nova arena, Castelao arena and Maracana)," FIFA said.

Lucio is pictured holding the hashtag, as are several other players and former players, including Kevin-Prince Boateng, Roque Junior, Joseph-Antoine Bell and Dragan Stojkovic.

The anti-racism drive is part of a larger campaign aimed at highlighting FIFA's commitment to "global football development and to raise awareness in the fight against discrimination and match manipulation," the governing body said.

FIFA did not return emails or calls asking for comment on Lucio's inclusion in the campaign.

Emerson last year became one of the few players to take a stand on homophobia in the game by posting a photo on Instagram of him kissing a friend over the table in a Sao Paulo restaurant.

He said he was not gay and the closed-lips peck was more fun than sexual.

But fans of his team at the time, Corinthians, protested outside the club's training ground and online with banners saying, "This is a man's club" and other slogans. He left the club to join Botafogo a few months later.

Brazilian players and officials have been involved in several racism incidents this year.

Peruvian fans shouted monkey chats at Cruzeiro midfielder Tinga in a Copa Libertadores game, and Brazilian supporters abused Santos's Arouca. Bananas were also thrown on a black referee's car in the south of the country.

Barcelona's Brazil players Dani Alves and Neymar launched a media campaign in April after a Spanish fan threw a banana at the fullback in a recent league game. Alves ate the banana.

View comments (1)