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Mexico To Play First World Cup Qualifiers To Empty Stadium As Punishment To Fans Over Homophobic Chants

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Mexico To Play First World Cup Qualifiers To Empty Stadium As Punishment To Fans Over Homophobic Chants

Mexico's national football team will now play its first two home qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup to a completely empty stadium, as a form of punishment to fans following recent homophobic chants.

Mexico's national football assocation (FMF) was sanctioned by world governing body FIFA, which said Mexican fans had shouted 'homophobic chants' at two Olympic Football Tournament qualifiers in Guadalajara back in March.

Along with banning fans from the two forthcoming home matches, FIFA has also slapped the FMF with a $65,000 fine.

According to Sporting News, the chant is believed to have been heard among fans since the early 2000s, involving a Spanish language homophobic slur - a four-letter word that roughly translates to 'gay prostitute'.

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It is sometimes used when an opposing goalkeeper puts the ball into play through a goal kick, and is supposedly intended to intimidate both the keeper and the opposing team.

Mexico manager Gerardo 'Tata' Martino. Credit: PA
Mexico manager Gerardo 'Tata' Martino. Credit: PA

FARE, an anti-discrimination group, has also explained that the word refers 'to gay men in a derogatory way'.

In a statement to Yahoo, FIFA said: "The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Association (FMF) with a fine of [$65,000 US dollars] and an order to play its two upcoming official home matches behind closed doors following 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.

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"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.

"The FMF has been notified of both decisions."

Mexico's next two official home games are World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica on 2 September and Canada on 7 October.

Speaking to Yahoo last month, FMF president Yon De Luisa acknowledged that the chant is homophobic and 'discriminatory'.

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"We understand that, even if it doesn't go with that intent, if other people feel it that way, then it is that way," De Luisa said.

"That's why we want to eradicate it."

Mexico's national team has also told fans to stop using the 'offensive chant', saying in a social media post: "We're Mexicans and we're better than this!!"

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At a news conference today (18 June), De Luisa emphasised that FMF rejected 'any type of discrimination at Mexico national team games'.

Mexico manager Gerardo 'Tata' Martino added: "We're very worried. We're worried about what's coming, about the sanctions that could possibly be next, and because we don't want to be pulled away from our fans.

"Any national team that wants to accomplish important things depends on its players and its fans."

LADbible has reached out to FIFA for comment.

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Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Football, World Cup, Mexico

Jess Hardiman
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