The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) has introduced an unprecedented new restriction in its ongoing efforts to stamp out a popular homophobic chant.
Football fans across the country have repeatedly flouted a ban on crowd chants of “Hey, whore! to matches. In the past, consequences for singing have included suspended games and empty-stadium games. Now, the FMF is taking enforcement even further: Any spectators caught shouting the chant will be banned from national team matches for five years.
To enact the new rules, ticket buyers will be required to provide their personal information and then present a QR code and ID upon entering the stadium so that if they were kicked out, they can be identified and banned. In addition, more security officials will be present at stadiums to identify and expel fans who do not comply, FMF President Yon de Luisa said.
The spanish word to put is a homophobic slur, often directed at opposing teams’ goalkeepers during goal kicks. It gained popularity at football matches in the early 2000s, but was banned as part of a global campaign by international football governing body FIFA against homophobic and discriminatory behavior by fans which has started in 2014. Since that year, Mexico has been fined 17 times. for the fan chant.
This year the FMF was fined US$65,000 and two games without fans present after the chant was heard during Olympic qualifying in June – although the penalty was reduced to just one stadium game empty on appeal. Another incident in October during the World Cup qualifiers saw the Mexican team fined US$110,000 and the next two home games in empty stadiums.
But playing the World Cup qualifiers without an audience was unacceptable to FMF management, and they managed to negotiate a deal: in exchange for implementing the strict new rules, FIFA allowed them to invite 2 000 FMF employees and players’ families at Mexico’s next two qualifiers. Games.
“We can’t tolerate discriminatory behavior, we can’t play in empty stadiums, we can’t risk football authorities taking away our points [in the World Cup qualifiers]”said de Luisa.
The next matches will take place at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Mexico will play Costa Rica on January 30 and then face Panama on February 2. Mexico currently sit in third place in the playoffs with 14 points, behind Canada with 16 points and the United States with 15.
“I hope that with this new system we will have eliminated the risk of incurring new sanctions,” de Luisa said. “We believe people want to go to stadiums to have fun, have a good time and sing for their team.”