FIFA has announced it will fine the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) 100,000 Swiss francs ($109,000) after anti-gay chants were heard from fans during Mexico‘s May 29 match against Iceland in Arlington, Texas.
A spokesperson for FIFA confirmed to ESPN Mexico that this latest round of punishment would not include other sanctions such as banning fans from its matches.
In June, Mexico was ordered to play its next two official home games behind closed doors, after the presence of the anti-gay chant throughout the CONCACAF pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Guadalajara, Jalisco, last April.
“The chant is discriminatory and is moving us away from FIFA competitions,” Mexican federation president Yon de Luisa said in response to the match ban during a news conference in June. “To those who think it’s fun to [do it], I have news for you. It’s not.”
The Mexican federation has been hit with 16 fines for the chant since 2015, paying just over $336,000 since the first instance. During the match on May 29, FIFA’s three-step protocol against discrimination was put into action after fans repeatedly directed the anti-gay slur at Iceland goalkeeper Runar Runarsson after goal kicks.
The protocol’s first step calls for public-address announcers at the stadium to call on fans to cease the discriminatory action. The second step allows the referee to temporarily halt the match in case of a recurrence, and the third step can result in match abandonment.
In Arlington, referee Ted Unkel was prompted to stop the game momentarily at the 62nd minute, though the match was ultimately allowed to finish, resulting in a 2-1 victory for Mexico.
Though the FMF was spared a more serious penalty this time around, more recent instances of the chant at games could still result in added punishments.
On July 10, during El Tri‘s Gold Cup opener versus Trinidad and Tobago, the chant persisted even after the first two steps of FIFA’s protocol were enforced.
On the eve of Mexico’s domestic league restarting on July 22, a news conference has been scheduled by both Liga MX and the FMF to address the continuing issue of anti-gay discrimination at matches.
It is expected that the upcoming season, tentatively titled Apertura (Opening) 2021, will be renamed as part of a campaign to curb the chant’s usage across Mexican soccer.