US Soccer could potentially ban the Mexico men’s national team from competing in the United States for two years if its fans engage in the homophobic “puto” chant this week when the USA hosts Mexico, Outsports has learned.
Last May, the US Soccer board of directors adopted a policy that makes clear the repercussions for teams from outside the United States, if discriminatory chants — including the “puto” chant — arise en masse during a US-based match:
The teams shall further agree that if the supporters for their team engage in a discriminatory chant at an International Match in the United States, then that team will not be permitted to play an International Match in the United States for a period of 2 years.
With US Soccer hosting Mexico for a friendly in Arizona this Wednesday, fans are on notice: If at any time they engage in “large-scale, in stadium” chanting of “puto” during the match, Mexico will be banned from playing another match in the United States until the spring of 2025.
“Puto” is a slur that demeans men based on sex with other men. The Mexico men’s national team has faced many sanctions due to its fans refusing to stop the chant. These have included financial penalties and playing in empty stadiums.
The US Soccer policy was seemingly adopted to push (in this case) both US Soccer and the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación (Mexico’s equivalent) to proactively demand that fans not use discriminatory chants, including the homophobic “puto” chant.
One match ticket holder told Outsports that they had not received any information on this issue until April 16, after Outsports had reached out to US Soccer. The message received by the ticket holder included a general request for fans to “comply with the U.S. Soccer Fan Code of Conduct.”
The adopted policy also demands that US Soccer adhere to an in-game protocol to stop the chant if it arises. If the event organizers (in this case US Soccer) do not follow the protocol, US Soccer could ostensibly ban itself from hosting any international teams over the next two years.
U.S. Soccer will not grant sanction to the promoter/FIFA Match Agent to host an International Match in the United States for a period of 2 years after the first violation of this provision.
A US Soccer spokesperson told Outsports that FIFA’s three-step process to deal with these chants will be followed, which include pausing the game and, if fans refuse to stop the chant, eventually abandoning the match. They also shared various in-game messaging that will be show or broadcast including, in both English and Spanish:
“Our fans must comply with the U.S. Soccer Fan Code of Conduct, including the prohibition on discriminatory chants. Failure to comply could result in ejections, pausing, suspending or concluding the match, in which case there will be no refunds.”
All eyes will be on the Mexico-USA match this Wednesday with a whole different lens. Will FMF effectively convey to its US-based fans that the team will be banned from the country if they engage in this discriminatory chant? Will fans abide by the request?
Fans can tune in to find out what happens on TBS, Telemundo, Universo and Peacock, April 19, 10pmET.