Nov 23, 2022 - Sports

FIFA investigates chants by Mexico fans at World Cup

Fans of Team Mexico with flags during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 group C match between Mexico and Poland

Fans of Mexico with flags during the World Cup. Photo: Florencia Tan Jun/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

FIFA on Wednesday said it has opened an official investigation into the Mexican Football Association over chants made by Mexico fans toward Poland players during their 0-0 draw in the World Cup on Tuesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Mexico has been sanctioned in the past over "a recurring anti-gay goalkeeper chant" that has been heard from fans during their games, according to ESPN.

Driving the news: FIFA's disciplinary committee "has opened proceedings" against Mexico over the situation, but it did not identify the specific chants from Mexican fans, per Reuters.

  • Supporters of "El Tri" (as the Mexico national football team is known) were heard making abusive comments against Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, who failed to convert a penalty against "El Tri" goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, according to Reuters.
  • FIFA also opened up investigations into Ecuador over homophobic chants from their fans, The Athletic reports. Some Ecuador fans were allegedly heard "singing a homophobic chant against Chileans," according to The Athletic.

FIFA did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Context: Mexico's soccer federation has been sanctioned before over a homophobic chant used by fans during national team games, Sporting News reports.

  • In 2021, FIFA made Mexico play two World Cup qualifiers without fans as punishment for using the chants in a prior game, per AP.

The big picture: Sanctions against Mexico and Ecuador come during a World Cup hosted by Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal.

  • World Cup teams recently ditched plans to wear rainbow armbands after FIFA threatened to sanction players who chose to do so, Axios' Ivana Saric writes. The armbands were a sign of inclusion and anti-discrimination.
  • Germany's soccer team on Wednesday covered their mouths during a group photo before their game against Japan in protest of FIFA's threat.

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