Jun 19, 2021 - Sports

FIFA sanctions Mexico for fans' use of homophobic slur

Photo of two soccer players aiming for the mid-air soccer ball on a field
The CONCACAF Nations League Championship Final between United States and Mexico on June 6 in Denver. Photo: Omar Vega via Getty Images

FIFA on Friday ordered Mexico to play two official home matches without spectators as a punishment for its fans' repeated use of a homophobic slur this year.

Why it matters: Fans have chanted the slur at Mexican matches for years. Mexican officials stepped up efforts to halt the behavior this spring after growing criticism, but social media campaigns and stadium announcements have failed, per the Washington Post.

Details: FIFA's disciplinary committee did not specify which teams or games would be impacted. The next official home games are the 2022 World Cup qualifiers for the men's national team on Sept. 2 and Oct. 7.

  • Mexico would not have "the usual thunderous support at 87,000-seat Estadio Azteca in Mexico City," the Post writes.

The governing body also fined the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) roughly $65,000 for fans' behavior at two matches at the Olympic men's qualifying tournament for under-23 squads in March.

  • Mexican matches at the Concacaf Nations League semifinal and final in Denver earlier this month were briefly suspended because Mexican fans chanted a homophobic slur in Spanish.
  • FIFA said it has launched separate investigations of incidents at Mexico’s friendly match against Iceland in Texas.

What they're saying: "We must stop this now," FMF President Yon de Luisa said Friday at a news conference, per the Post. "The effect can be devastating for Mexican soccer. Let it be the first and last sanction that FIFA gives us."'

  • "I want to ask all Mexican supporters to reflect, so they understand the meaning and scope of this type of attitude, which inevitably divides us," Gerardo Martino, coach of the senior national team, added.

The big picture: In recent years, FIFA has looked to tighten policies related to in-game discriminatory incidents.

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