FIFA on Wednesday handed the Mexico Football Federation a $10,400 fine for “discriminatory and insulting chants” during a World Cup game against Germany.
The FIFA disciplinary committee handed down the 10,000 Swiss francs fine (the equivalent of $10.4k U.S.) on Wednesday for chants directed at Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
A source also told ESPN’s Rene Tovar that if the chants continue during matches, stadium security would begin to identify and remove the offending fans from the stands.
Mexican fans have long shouted the word, which gay rights groups argue is anti-gay.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) with a fine of CHF 10,000 for the misconduct of a group of Mexican fans (cf. art. 67 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code) in relation to discriminatory and insulting chants during the first half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match played between Germany and Mexico,” FIFA wrote.
FIFA also sanctioned the Serbian Football Association $10,000 “for the display of an offensive and political banner by Serbian fans during the match played between Serbia and Costa Rica.”
The Mexican Football Federation, which began a campaign ahead of the World Cup to end the chant, was sanctioned 12 times for anti-gay slurs during the World Cup qualifying campaign, receiving warnings for the first two offences and fines for 10 more.
The chant was also widely heard at Mexico games in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when FIFA took no action, but the governing body has since launched a clampdown. Other Latin American teams, including Argentina and Chile, have also been fined.
“The decision was passed after a thorough assessment of the relevant match reports, the FMF’s precedents and the evidence provided, which included videos of the incidents as well as examples of certain sustainable actions taken by the FMF to raise awareness among its supporters,” FIFA said. “Moreover, the Disciplinary Committee gave a warning to the FMF, who may face additional sanctions in case of repeated infringements of this type.”
Although the Mexican team has appealed before for an end to the chants — the players even released a video on the subject in 2016 — some supporters have not relented.
Mexico striker Javier Hernandez on Wednesday appealed to his country’s football fans to stop their anti-gay chanting at World Cup matches, arguing it could lead to further fines from FIFA.
Hernandez posted a message on Instagram on Wednesday asking fans to end their derogatory chants during their opponents’ goal kicks.
“To all Mexican fans in the stadiums, don’t shout ‘pu–‘,” Hernandez said. “Let’s not risk another sanction.”
Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Marco Fabian made a similar plea via his social media on Wednesday, retweeting the Mexico Federation’s educational campaign to end the use of the chant, along with this message.
“Yes, we all know that it is not an anti-gay slur nor is it insulting. The intent is not to offend and it is meant to be teasing and part of Mexican folklore. But we also know that when we as Mexicans put our minds to something, we accomplish it. And I know that our Mexican fans in Russia will be abstaining from using this chant, correct?”
Thousands of Mexican fans have flooded into Russia for the World Cup and some chanted the abuse during the match against Germany on Sunday, prompting FIFA to announce disciplinary procedures earlier this week.
Mexico caused a major shock by beating Germany 1-0 in their opening game in Group F. They next play South Korea on Saturday. FIFA is employing three specialist observers at each World Cup match to report discriminatory behaviour by spectators.