- Mexico’s national soccer team will have to play their World Cup qualifiers in an empty stadium.
- FIFA banned Mexico fans from attending the games after they used homophobic chants in past events.
- Mexico’s national team will also be fined $73,000.
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Mexico’s soccer fans won’t be allowed to attend World Cup qualifiers because they used homophobic chants at previous events.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee announced that the Mexican National Team will have to play its two upcoming World Cup qualifier matches against Jamaica on Sept. 2 and Canada on Oct. 7 in an empty stadium. Mexico fans used homophobic chants at the Olympic Tournament Qualifiers against the Dominican Republic and the USA in March.
The team will also be fined $73,000.
Mexican Football Federation president Yon De Luisa addressed the sanctions during a press conference on Friday.
-FOX Sports MX (@FOXSportsMX) June 19, 2021
“Let’s stop now, please,” De Luisa said. “The (expletive) chant is discriminatory and is moving us away from FIFA competitions. To those who think it’s fun to yell it out, I have news for you. It’s not.”
The fan ban is the strongest sanction ever taken against the Mexican national team, and there might be more on the way. FIFA is still investigating incidents that happened during the Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football Nations League (CONCACAF) games against Costa Rica and the USA earlier in June.
Mexico fans broke out in homophobic chants during both of those games, which forced officials to pause the games and issue warnings to the stands.
CONCACAF launched an anti-discrimination campaign in March aimed specifically at combatting homophobic chants, but it seemingly made no difference in the behavior of Mexico fans when the games came around.
FIFA announced its own disciplinary code to combat offensive chants by spectators in July 2019. According to the code, officials are meant to give one warning to spectators if offensive chants are used, but if they continue then officials must abandon the match, and players are sent to the locker rooms.
Mexico fans have a long history of using homophobic chants, which has resulted in multiple fines and threats to the national team over the years.
There is debate over the chant, as the Spanish word has several meanings. One of the meanings is a slur against gay men, which De Luisa said is all it should take to avoid using it.
“For many years, that was the debate for us at the Mexican federation,” De Luisa said. “That is no longer a debate. If it is discriminatory, we should avoid it.”
“There’s a million ways to show interest toward your team,” he continued. “Without discriminating. So we should focus on the positive ways. This is something that we are not proud of. This is not the image that we want to show from our fans and from our society to the rest of the world.”