FIFA has banned Mexico fans from the stands for the country’s first two home qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup after homophobic chants were heard during two Olympic qualifiers earlier this year.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Association (FMF) with a fine of CHF 60,000 ($65,000) and an order to play its two official upcoming matches behind closed doors,” a statement read on Friday.
FIFA statement makes it official:
Mexico will have to play two World Cup qualifiers in empty stadiums as punishment for homophobic chants pic.twitter.com/eYUlm5AWRD
— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) June 18, 2021
FIFA went on to cite “homophobic chants by Mexican fans at the Olympic Football Tournament qualifiers against Dominican Republic and the USA played in Guadalajara on 18 and 24 March 2021 respectively.
“The committee has also opened separate proceedings against the FMF in relation to homophobic chants by Mexican fans at their team’s friendly match against Iceland played in Arlington, Texas, on 29 May 2021,” it added.
The ruling means Mexico fans are set to be banned from attending games against Jamaica on September 2 and Canada on October 7 in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
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It’s not the first time Mexico fans have fallen foul of FIFA due to chants deemed homophobic.
At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Mexican football association was fined for language directed at Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Neuer was labeled “puto!”, which is slang for a homosexual male prostitute.
The FMF was fined over a dozen times during its qualification for Russia 2018, including for the same chant, and FIFA is clearly continuing to crack down on the language from fans.
The current ban also stems from the use of “puto” in the stands, FIFA confirmed to Yahoo Sports.
Some fans have argued that the phrase has nothing to do with homosexuality when screamed in unison at opposing goalkeepers. However, FIFA has deemed it derogatory for several years.
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