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Will FIFA finally issue serious sanctions against Mexico over reoccurring anti-gay chant?

Once again, FIFA has opened an investigation after homophobic chants were heard during one of the Mexican team’s matches this month.

Mexico v Canada - 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Semifinals
FIFA first warned the Mexican Football Federation about the derogatory chant in 2014.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Years later, anti-gay chants continue to be heard at Mexican soccer venues. The latest homophobic rallying cries were audible during multiple matches this month at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, which was hosted in Guadalajara.

FIFA has opened an investigation into fan behavior during the match between Mexico and the Dominican Republic on March 18, ESPN reports. The chant was also heard when Mexico was playing the U.S. on March 24, though FIFA hasn’t confirmed an investigation into that episode.

The disgraceful “puto” chant —a vulgar slur for male prostitute — is ubiquitous at Mexican soccer matches, and up until today, FIFA has been ambivalent towards its eradication. The organization has punished Mexico at least 12 times for the chant since 2015, and yet, it hasn’t disappeared. Back in 2018, FIFA fined Mexico’s soccer federation a laughable $10,000.

In response, the Mexican National Soccer Team launched a new campaign urging fans to stop screaming “puto,” emphasizing FIFA’s policy that allows referees to end games over hateful chants.

That’s an improvement from 2016, when the Mexican Soccer Federation appealed FIFA’s fines, and claimed the chant wasn’t homophobic. Back in 2014, Mexico World Cup coach Miguel Herrera defended such chants as a reasonable tactic to throw goalies off their game.

This time around, the punishment from FIFA must be more severe. In addition to a fine, FIFA could force the Mexican team to forfeit three points from its 4-1 win over the Dominican Republic. The forfeiture would replace the results with a 3-0 loss.

“FIFA can confirm the opening of a disciplinary procedure against the FMF due to the discriminatory incidents during the match between Mexico and the Dominican Republic,” FIFA said in a statement, per ESPN.

But days later, we’re still waiting on an announcement from FIFA. Fans were allowed to attend Mexico’s win over Canada Sunday.

After nearly a decade of half-hearted fines and public campaigns, it’s apparent the ugly chant isn’t going away without firmer action. We’ll see if FIFA is finally up to the task.