Mexico will play its next two official home matches in an empty stadium as part of a punishment following homophobic chants by the team's fans at two Olympic football tournament qualifiers in March, FIFA confirmed to USA Today Sports.
Those matches — one against Jamaica in September, the other against Canada in October — are both World Cup qualifiers.
An investigation was opened by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee into two separate incidents that occurred at matches against the Dominican Republic on March 18 and the United States on March 24 in Guadalajara. The result was sanctions on the Mexican Football Association (FMF) including the spectator ban and a $65 thousand fine.
Mexico fans react in extra time against the United States during the 2021 CONCACAF Nations League Finals soccer series final match at Empower Field at Mile High. (Photo: Isaiah J. Downing, Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor)
FIFA has also opened an investigation into another incident that occurred at Mexico's friendly match against Iceland on May 29 in Arlington, Texas.
"If we don't stop this now, the effect it can have on the football industry in Mexico can be devastating. I ope this is the first and last sanction that FIFA imposes," Mexican Football Federation President Yon de Luisa tweeted.
On June 7, the CONCACAF Nations League final between Mexico and the U.S. was stopped for three minutes as part of anti-discrimination protocol when anti-gay chants were heard at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver. USMNT midfielder Giovanni Reyna was also struck in the head by an object thrown from the stands as the team celebrated Christian Pulisic's game-winning goal. The U.S. won the game 3-2.
Mexican fans have a history of using the homophobic chant that translates to male prostitue which has largely gone unpunished. Between November 2015 and March 2017, the country was cited for improper fan behavior nine times. Anti-gay chants were the cause for eight of those citations.
However, Mexico did not face punishment until 2018 when the FMF was fined $10 thousand for fans using the slur at a World Cup match against Germany.
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