Homophobic chanting outrages fans at team’s first match

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Fans of an American football club have been heard chanting a homophobic song – at the team’s first ever match.

Atlanta United supporters repeatedly sung “Puto!” at opposition players during Sunday’s match, a chant which multiple LGBT organisations have said discriminates against gay people.

The chant, which reportedly originated in the Mexican league, is designed to put a goalkeeper or corner-kick taker off their stride by using a derogatory word for a male prostitute or gay man.

Juan Jacobo Hernández, president of Mexican LGBT rights organisation Colectivo Sol, has told Vice the chant is simply “cultural discrimination – cultural homophobia.

“Calling football players ‘puto’ is not just about making them miss their kick, it’s a way of degrading their masculine abilities and saying they’re not real men.”

Chris Billig, the founder of gay4soccer.com, simply said it was “a homophobic goal-kick chant” when speaking to sports news site Prost Amerika.

The club, which attracted more than 55,000 supporters to the game last night against the New York Red Bulls, was allowed to join Major League Soccer at the beginning of this season.

They have managed to attract former Premier League players like former Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones and ex-Burnley full-back Tyrone Mears, but risk being branded a homophobic club if the chants continue.

Fans at the match – which Atlanta lost 2-1 – recognised the song, tweeting their outrage that a newly formed club was already suffering from homophobia.

In December, the Mexican Football Federation launched a campaign against discrimination, featuring some of its star players.

But just the next month, the federation appealed against a fine of 85,000 Swiss francs (£70,000) incurred for the chant being used during World Cup qualifiers.

The Chile national team has been issued with three separate stadium bans by FIFA over the chant, after 25 rights groups criticised the organisation for not censuring teams whose fans sung the chant at the last World Cup.