Mexico’s men’s national soccer team will play its first two home 2022 World Cup qualifiers in empty stadiums as punishment for some of its fans’ insistence on yelling a homophobic slur during matches.
The “p***” chant has plagued Mexican soccer for years. Officials refused to reckon with it until recently. The Mexican soccer federation promised to crack down in 2019, and again this year. But fans have belted it during opposing goal kicks at most or all Mexico games this year.
The sanctions are specifically for the chant’s appearance at two Olympic qualifying games in March — one of them against the U.S. An investigation has also been opened into chanting at the team’s first stateside friendly of the year against Iceland last month.
Further probes could look into the CONCACAF Nations League semifinal and final earlier this month. Both matches were briefly halted due to the chant.
FIFA confirmed the punishment in a statement to Yahoo Sports:
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Association (FMF) with a fine of CHF 60,000 and an order to play its two upcoming official home matches behind closed doors following homophobic chants by Mexican fans at the Olympic Football Tournament qualifiers against Dominican Republic and the USA played in Guadalajara on 18 and 24 March 2021 respectively.
The committee has also opened separate proceedings against the FMF in relation to homophobic chants by Mexican fans at their team’s friendly match against Iceland played in Arlington, Texas, on 29 May 2021.
The FMF has been notified of both decisions.
The two matches that will have to be played without fans are against Jamaica in September and Canada in October.
The fine is equivalent to roughly $65,000.
This story will be updated shortly.