FIFA cuts Mexico punishment for homophobic chants – but fans show no sign of stopping

Mexico football fans

FIFA halved its punishment to Mexico for fans’ homophobic chanting on the very same day that same chanting halted the MLS-Liga MX All-Star match.

In June the regulating body ordered a ban on spectators at two World Cup qualifier matches after Mexico fans refused to stop screaming the homophobic slur “p**o” at opposing players.

In addition to the spectator ban the Mexican soccer federation (FMF) was also fined $65,000, the heaviest punishment ever doled out by FIFA.

The FMF reportedly petitioned FIFA officials to reconsider the sanctions on the grounds that playing without spectators would affect the performance of Mexico’s national team.

A statement released by the FMF on Wednesday (25 August) explained that due to the organisation’s “efforts toward eradicating discrimination at matches,” FIFA had decided to diminish the initial penalty.

“The Appeals Committee at FIFA has resolved that the sanction imposed by the Disciplinary Committee for two games without fans be reduced to one game. Said sanction must be enforced at the next official home match for any men’s age category,” the document read.

The ban on spectators will be only applied for a single match on 2 September, when Mexico’s national team plays Jamaica at the beginning of the region’s World Cup qualifiers.

Fans will be welcomed back to the stands for the second qualifier against Canada on 7 October, unless more penalties are handed down in the meantime.

Unfortunately that’s looking likely after Wednesday’s MLS-Liga MX All-Star game. The “p**o” chant made an ugly appearance from Mexico fans once again, forcing officials to halt the match just ten minutes in.

Under FIFA rules matches are stopped and a verbal warning is issued if the chant is heard; if the slurs continue the match is suspended before a final step in which officials end the contest entirely.

The Guardian reports that fans largely stopped the chant after the verbal warning, but many did it again during extra time in the second half. Whether FIFA will reconsider its decision in light of their bad behaviour remains to be seen.