FIFA, organizers of the World Cup, will investigate the homophobic slurs used by fans of Mexico’s football team in a chant during Mexico’s match against Germany on Sunday. FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the team -- and not for the first time.
FIFA has already fined the Mexican Football Federation multiple times for its fans using such slurs during the team’s qualifying campaign, which evidently hasn’t stopped supporters from carrying over chants to the World Cup stands in Russia.
In a match against Germany at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, where Mexico secured a win with a score of 1-0, fans of Mexico’s team chanted homophobic slurs, aimed at German goalkeeper Manuel Meuer. Mexico fans chanted the word “puto” at the Meuer, which is a term with multiple definitions, but in this context has been interpreted as a defamatory slur commonly used to insult gay men.
Midfielder Marco Fabian has urged fans to stop using homophobic slurs when supporting Mexico’s World Cup team, stressing that such chants only served to hurt both the team and its supporters.
"This is a good time to send a message. We're inviting the fans not to shout [the chant], to support us in a different way," Fabian said in a news conference on Tuesday.
Fabian claimed that supporters’ fan IDs may be taken away, which would prevent them from entering World Cup games.
“We want them to support in a different way. It's really lovely to hear 'Cielito Lindo' and the chants 'Mexico.' We like the support at 100 percent, but hope that we can stop doing this chant that is affecting us as much as it is, and above all [affecting] Mexico," Fabian said.
Javier Ruiz Galindo of the National House of Mexico, a gathering space for fans in Moscow, similarly stressed the negative consequences that the chant could have on Mexico’s team and its supporters, rather than the moral significance of the slurs.
"It's not necessarily meant to insult somebody," Galindo told the BBC. "We have been asked many times not to do it so we should be respectful.”
This is not the first time that 2018’s Pride season has seen homophobia enter the soccer field. At L.A. Galaxy’s annual Pride Night, which was held in late May, the same homophobic chant that was used in the match against Germany was heard in the stands during the Galaxy’s match against FC Dallas. No consequences were taken as a result of the behavior, despite the slur being used on a night particularly aimed at celebrating the LGBT community, and despite this being far from the first time such behavior has reared its head in such a setting.
Although FIFA has declined to comment on the nature or timeline of the disciplinary hearing against Mexico, it has promised news in the future.
“Further updates will be communicated in due course. As proceedings are ongoing please understand we cannot comment further at this stage,” FIFA said in a statement.
FIFA has started using an anti-discrimination policy for the 2018 World Cup, in which referees must stop games when discriminatory behavior is being displayed, during which a Public Service Announcement must be broadcast to implore halting such behavior. If the behavior still continues, the game will be suspended, and then abandoned if the behavior continues to persist.
“A public announcement was prepared, but the chants ceased,” FIFA said in the statement. “After the match and as an important step for further action, the incident was duly included in the match report, as well as the evidence produced by the anti-discrimination observers.”