The Mexican men’s national soccer team will be forced to play two home World Cup qualifiers in empty stadiums as a consequence for fans’ continued yelling of a homophobic chant in recent October matches.
The Mexican soccer federation was also fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($110,000) for charges of “discriminatory behavior by supporters.” This isn’t the first time the organization receives a punishment for the slur, but stands as the latest in the long-standing campaign to stop fans from directing abuse at opposing players.
FIFA first imposed sanctions on Mexico for the infamous chant in June, announcing the team’s first two home qualifiers would be played behind closed doors.
Consequently, the Azteca was empty when Mexico kicked off their road to Qatar in September against Jamaica.
Now, Mexico will host Costa Rica on January 30 and Panama on February 2 in an empty stadium, set to cost the organization millions of dollars in lost revenue.
The Chant was heard last month when Mexico hosted the matches against Canada and Honduras, with more than 130,000 fans in attendance for those matches.
In the past, the federation has been threatened with forfeiting games and losing points over the chant.
The October qualifiers drew controversy as the fans in El Salvador also displayed several behaviors that caught the attention of FIFA. During their match against Mexico, fans were seen throwing several objects at opposing players and hitting goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa with what appeared to be a bag of water.
El Salvador has now been fined 30,000 Swiss francs ($32,000) for the actions taken by fans.