Today FIFA announced the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) would be forced to play their first two home World Cup Qualifiers behind closed doors. In addition FMF will pay a fine of 60,000 CHF, currently approximately $65,000. This comes after FIFA opened an investigation into the use of a homophobic slur chant by Mexican supporters during CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying.
FIFA is also investigating the use of a homophobic slur by fans during a May friendly with Iceland in Austin, Texas. However, there has not been official communication that FIFA is investigating the use of discriminatory chants during the CONCACAF Nations League (CNL) semifinal and final. Both matches were temporarily paused in accordance with CONCACAF’s anti-discrimination protocol. At the conclusion of the tournament, FMF released an official statement urging fans to avoid the use of the homophobic slur during matches.
FIFA has left the door open for further sanctions pending the results of the second investigation and should fan behavior fail to improve. Potential future sanctions include: additional matches behind closed doors, points deductions in the final round of World Cup Qualifying, removal from hosting matches in 2026, and even a ban from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
FMF held a press conference today with Federation President Yon de Luisa and senior national team manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino. Both men urged fans to abandon the discriminatory chant, citing the potential for more sanctions should the use of the chant continue. In an attempt to reason with fans, the two men emphasized the continued use of discriminatory chants would harm the team they go to matches to support.
The sanctions announced today are not the first sanctions FMF has faced as a result of homophobic chants. Following the use of the slur in the match against Germany during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, FMF was fined $10,000.
Today’s sanctions come after FIFA and regional governing bodies have begun to crack down on discriminatory behavior during matches, by fans and players alike. After directing a racial slur at an opposing player, Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kúdela was banned for 10 matches. Austria’s Marko Arnautovic is currently facing an investigation due to an outburst during Austria’s Euro 2020 win over North Macedonia.
It is the hope that these latest sanctions and crack downs from FIFA will help to promote a sport free from discriminatory behavior where all are welcome.