TEXAS – Mexico’s national football team will 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 association – 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 of fans from the two forthcoming home matches, Fifa also slapped the FMF with a $65,000 fine.
According to reports, 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.’
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.
An investigation has also been opened into chanting at Mexico’s friendly against Iceland last month in Arlington, Texas.
Further probes could look into the CONCACAF Nations League semifinal and final earlier this month. The chant marred both games in Denver, and both were briefly halted in second-half stoppage time as a public-address announcement warned fans to stop.
FMF acknowledged the punishment on Friday, and Fifa confirmed it in a statement.
“The Fifa Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Association – FMF with a fine of $65,000 and an order to play its two upcoming official home matches behind closed doors following homophobic chants their fans at the Olympic Football Tournament qualifiers against Dominican Republic and the USA played in Guadalajara on March 18 and 24, 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 May 29, 2021,” read the Fifa statement in parts.
A Fifa spokesman could not confirm ‘upcoming official home matches’ refers to World Cup qualifiers, or even that it refers to men’s senior national team matches. But the spokesman did confirm that ‘upcoming’ means ‘the next two,’ and no Mexican national team has an official match scheduled on home soil between now and September.