A longtime Mexican professional soccer coach kicked off a recent press conference by asking if any “old ladies” or “faggots” were in the room.
Unfortunately, that is not an Onion headline.
Liga MX coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti, who’s in his first season as manager at FC Juarez, used the misogynistic phrase and anti-gay slur at the start of his post-match presser Monday, the Sporting News reports. When the media didn’t react, he said that must mean only “machos are here.” His remark elicited some audible chuckles.
The Mexican Soccer Federation punished Ferretti with a three-game suspension and fine for his homophobic quip.
Y luego pretendemos erradicar gritos homofóbicos de nuestros estadios… ¡Lamentable! pic.twitter.com/kNnMidzSlu— Marc Crosas (@marccrosas) November 8, 2021
Ferretti’s remarks came at a precarious time for the Mexican Soccer Federation in its seemingly futile battle to stamp out homophobic behavior at its stadiums. Earlier this month, FIFA ruled Mexico’s national soccer team will play two more matches in empty venues after fans incessantly chanted “puto” during the first match they were allowed to watch their team in-person this fall.
Mexico has already played one match in an empty stadium due to fans’ refusal to stop chanting the homophobic slur. “Puto” is roughly translated to “male prostitute.” A similar chant, “rent boy,” has also marred matches in the U.K.
The Mexico Football Federation is appealing FIFA’s latest decision. It was able to whittle FIFA’s initial penalty from two matches to one.
It’s clear sanctions haven’t deterred Mexico fans, who chanted the gay slur with impunity during the CONCACAF Nations League last spring. The insult was even directed towards players on the U.S. men’s national team during the Nations League final, which took place at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
Officials halted a Mexico friendly against Iceland when fans chanted “puto” at AT&T Stadium about one week before the incident in Denver.
FIFA has repeatedly punished Mexico for fan behavior over the years, and the next step would be penalizing the national team qualification points for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But it’s uncertain whether FIFA would be willing to go that far. As mentioned, the all-powerful governing body reduced the most recent ban against Mexico fans attending home matches.
Ferretti, 67, has been coaching pro soccer in Mexico for decades. His disturbingly casual use of the word “faggot” shows how much anti-gay insults are engrained into Mexico’s soccer culture.
We’ll see if FIFA sticks by its initial penalty this time around. If not, it shows they’re content with homophobic slurs flying around Mexico matches, from the stands to press rooms.