FIFA gives bigger fine for wearing poppies than for homophobic chants

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FIFA has issued bigger fines to England’s football association for wearing poppies than it has to countries whose fans chanted homophobic abuse.

Football’s world governing body issued the fines for players wearing poppies on their armbands, as well as Armistice Day tributes held around matches.

England have been fined 45,000 Swiss francs (£35,311), Scotland and Wales 20,000 Sfr (£15,694) and Northern Ireland 15,000 Sfr (£11,770).

The poppy fines are much larger than those FIFA gave to a long list of nations whose fans engaged in homophobic chants at matches.

Poland, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Panama, Mexico and Venezuela were all found guilty of “various incidents involving unsporting conduct by fans, including homophobic chants in some instances”.

Their fines were between 20,000 Sfr and 35,000 Sfr, much less than that awarded to England and the UK’s associations.

The boss of one country fined, Mexico, has previously claimed homophobic chants are not discriminatory and should not receive fines at all.
The country’s fans frequently scream the anti-gay slur “puto”, a derogatory word for a male prostitute or gay man.

A statement from FIFA on the UK poppy fines read: “England has been fined CHF 45,000 for several incidents in the framework of the England v Scotland match, including the display by the host association, the English team and spectators of a political symbol and several cases of spectator misconduct.

“Scotland, as the visiting association, has been fined CHF 20,000 for the display of the same political symbol and cases of misconduct committed by its own group of spectators.

“Wales has been fined CHF 20,000 and Northern Ireland CHF 15,000 in relation to several incidents, including the display of political symbols in the context of the Wales v Serbia and Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan matches.”

Fifa opened disciplinary proceedings looking at “fans in the stands wearing the poppy” and the presence of “a member of the armed forces holding a bunch of poppies at the exit of the tunnel”, according to the Football Association of Wales (FAW).

The Yorkshire Post noted that the fines outweighed those for abusive, anti-gay chants.

The holding of a minute’s silence, the laying of a wreath and a poppy display by fans before Northern Ireland’s 4-0 win over Azerbaijan on 11 November led to the punishment of the Irish FA.

GLAAD has previously criticised FIFA for not taking action on homophobic chants at the last World Cup.