FIFA, the global governing board of soccer, has fined the Mexico Football Federation, or FMF, $10,000 after Mexican fans uttered “discriminatory and insulting chants” during a World Cup match against Germany, reports ESPN.
A disciplinary committee handed down the penalty, in swiss francs, for chants directed at Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during the match in question.
“The decision was passed after a thorough assessment of the relevant match reports, the FMF’s precedents and the evidence provided, which included videos of the incidents as well as examples of certain sustainable actions taken by the FMF to raise awareness among its supporters,” FIFA said in a statement. “Moreover, the Disciplinary Committee gave a warning to the FMF, who may face additional sanctions in case of repeated infringements of this type.”
Mexico eventually defeated Germany by a score of 1-0. Their next match is on Saturday against South Korea. A source close to FIFA leadership told ESPN that if fans continue the chants during matches, stadium security will begin identifying the culprits and removing them from the stands.
FIFA, which had promised to crack down on offensive taunts or overtly political demonstrations during the World Cup, has also sanctioned the Serbian Football Association $10,000 “for the display of an offensive and political banner by Serbian fans during the match played between Serbia and Costa Rica.”
FMF striker Javier Hernandez has asked fans of Mexico to stop anti-gay chants, including “puto” at games, arguing that such incidents will only strengthen FIFA’s resolve to dole out more fines and punishments.
“To all Mexican fans in the stadiums, don’t shout ‘puto’,” Hernandez wrote on Instagram. “Let’s not risk another sanction.”
The FMF has previously urged fans to stop the chants, even starting a campaign and releasing a video on the topic in 2016, but many fans are resistant to change, arguing that the word, which loosely translates to “bitch,” “faggot,” or “coward,” is not anti-gay, and has been shouted at matches for decades. The FMF was sanctioned 12 times for anti-gay slurs during the qualifiers for the World Cup, being warned twice and hit with fines the remaining 10 times.
Other soccer teams, including Argentina and Chile, have previously been fined for using the term.
Marco Fabian, a Mexican-born midfielder for the Eintracht Frankfurt team, also asked fans to stop using the term, even retweeting the FMF’s educational campaign video.
“Yes, we all know that it is not an anti-gay slur nor is it insulting,” Fabian wrote. “The intent is not to offend and it is meant to be teasing and part of Mexican folklore. But we also know that when we as Mexicans put our minds to something, we accomplish it. And I know that our Mexican fans in Russia will be abstaining from using this chant, correct?”
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