Italy's coach Marcello Lippi waits for
the start of his team's Confederations Cup soccer match against Egypt at
Ellis Park in Johannesburg June 18, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters File
BEIJING, Aug. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Italian national
soccer's head coach Marcello Lippi said he would not select homosexual players
for his team, according to news reports on Thursday.
Lippi told the web-TV program Klaus-Condicio that the
situation would create conflict in Italy, as players and matches are dissected
to a nearly obsessive extent in the country.
The veteran coach, who led Italy to World Cup glory
in 2006, insisted that choice was not due to homophobia but due to the
requirements of team morale.
"This is not a question of culture but is more
related to the fact that such a relation would create conflicts contrary to the
interests of the dynamics of the group," Lippi said.
Lippi's remarks came amid a wave of anti-gay violence
in Rome, including a violent attack against a gay couple that has prompted new
calls for an anti-discrimination law to better protect the rights of
Gay rights group Arcigay said such comments only
increase prejudice against homosexuals and are particularly damaging coming from
someone such as Lippi, who is held in such high esteem by the young.