FIFA has penalized the Mexican Football Association over homophobic chants used by the team’s supporters in two World Cup matches last year.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Association with a fine of [$108,000],” soccer’s international governing body said in a statement Friday.
Mexico was also ordered to play one match in a FIFA competition “behind closed doors,” or with no supporters allowed to attend.
The sanctions are related to the breaching of article 13 of the organization’s disciplinary code during games against Poland and Saudi Arabia in Qatar, officials said.
Last updated in 2019, FIFA’s current rules on behavior and discipline were developed to reflect the organization’s “principle of zero tolerance on racism and any form of discrimination.”
Article 13 states that “any person who offends the dignity or integrity of a country, a person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or derogatory words or actions (by any means whatsoever) on account of … gender, disability, sexual orientation … shall be sanctioned with a suspension lasting at least 10 matches or a specific period, or any other appropriate disciplinary measure.”
On Nov. 23, the organization’s disciplinary committee announced it had “opened proceedings against the Mexican Football Association due to chants by Mexican supporters” during their 0-0 draw against Poland. A week later, officials announced a second investigation had been opened after chants were heard during Mexico’s 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia.
The Mexican Football Association has been previously sanctioned over the behavior of its fans — who often chant a homophobic slur at goalkeepers during games.
In June 2021, Mexico’s victory over Costa Rica during a Nations League semifinal was halted for three minutes “due to discriminatory chanting,” according to Concacaf, the regional governing body for the sport in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Several fans were reportedly ejected following “multiple uses of a derogatory chant during Costa Rican goal kicks.”
Despite FIFA’s commitment to protecting the “fundamental human rights of individuals,” officials last year announced that any players who chose to wear a rainbow band in support of the LGBTQ community in notoriously anti-LGBTQ Qatar would be punished with a yellow card. The decision was condemned by prominent voices around the world, including U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.