FIFA fines Mexico for fifth time over fans’ homophobic soccer chants

World governing body tells national federation to pay $19,000 for reiterated use of term ‘puto’

In Mexico, soccer fans are clearly unimpressed by FIFA’s sanctions. This is the fifth time that the international governing body of association football has slapped the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) with a fine for the homophobic chanting, heard at the last two games played by the national side.

Mexican fans during a Copa América game.
Mexican fans during a Copa América game.N. Almeida / AFP

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This time, the federation will pay up to 400,000 pesos ($19,000). Another sanction proceeding is underway.

So far, the Mexican federation has had to pay out up to two million pesos ($102,000) due to its fans’ attitude.

Mexican fans are fond of screaming out “¡Eh, puto!” (akin to fag or queer in Mexican Spanish) to the opposing side’s goalkeeper every time he clears the ball.

On November 11, the Mexican team played at the Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, against the United States, and again on November 15 against Panama at the Rommel Fernández Stadium.

Defenders of the term “puto” argue that the word has many meanings

Both times, Mexican fans chanted the derogatory term.

Argentina, Colombia, Greece and Honduras have been sanctioned for similar reasons. Chile was punished with a stadium ban for two games, meaning that it will have to switch locations to play the matches against Paraguay and Ecuador.

FIFA considers the term unsportsmanlike and discriminatory conduct, and has issued a clear warning to Mexico: if the side cannot bring its fans under control, it could lose points in the qualifying stage of the 2018 World Cup, to be held in Russia.

In Mexico, defenders of the term “puto” argue that the word has many meanings and that it  does not specifically target  homosexuals, but is simply part of Mexico’s popular lexicon.

Gay rights have been a hot topic in Mexico in recent times with Pope Francis forced to intervene after local bishops, headed up by the powerful Cardinal Norberto Rivera, embarked on a virulent crusade against the decision by President Enrique Peña Nieto to push for the enshrining of same-sex marriage in the Mexican Constitution.

English version by Susana Urra.

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