FIFA Needs to Do More About the Anti-Gay Slurs Shouted at World Cup Matches
Spanish-speaking soccer fans apparently like to repeatedly shout the word “puto” — a slur for gay people that roughly translates as “man-whore” or “cocksucker” — as a chant during matches. Mexican fans have been doing it for years, and so it’s hardly surprising to learn they repeatedly shouted it during Mexico’s Saturday World Cup match against Germany (which Mexico ultimately won). FIFA, the world organization that governs international soccer matches and oversees the World Cup, has said it’s investigating this latest issue of World Cup homophobia.
FIFA says it will fine the Mexico soccer team if it finds that fans were chanting it, but that’s unlikely to stop the anti-gay slur, as Mexican fans have been chanting it for over a decade. FIFA has even fined Mexico for this exact thing in the past, which clearly hasn’t stopped Mexican fans from repeating it.
Before the World Cup, the Mexico Football Federation (FMF) also asked fans not to repeat the anti-gay slur at matches, apparently to no avail.
Here’s a video of the World Cup homophobia in action, with the slur “puto” being chanted by Mexican fans:
FIFA’s policy states that referees are supposed to stop matches and make a public announcement if they hear anti-gay chants, halting the game and then calling a forfeit if the chants don’t stop. They didn’t do this on Saturday, reportedly because the Mexican fans’ chanting stopped after the penalty kick occurred.
Journalist Danny Armstrong has said he heard (and took video of) Spanish-speaking fans chanting another homophobic slur in a Moscow underpass. In the video below you can hear the Mexican fans chanting “El que no salta es un chileno maricón” which means, “He who doesn’t jump is a Chilean faggot.” (Basically, if you’re not celebrating, you’re Chilean and gay. Way to combine homophobia with nationalism, guys.)
Here is Armstrong’s video of more World Cup homophobia, courtesy of Mexican fans:
'He who doesn't jump is a Chilean 'maricón' (faggot)'
Mexicans with homophobic chant in packed Ohotniy Ryad underpass in Moscow.
They have been previously warned by FIFA for homophobic language at matches#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/tf3qpth82h
— Danny Armstrong (@DannyWArmstrong) June 17, 2018
To be fair, Mexico is hardly the only country chanting World Cup homophobia. The Guardian reports, “FIFA issued 51 disciplinary actions over homophobia during 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Of these, 11 were handed to the Mexican federation, with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Peru also receiving multiple fines. FIFA additionally cited Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Greece, Hungary and Serbia once each for homophobic chants.”
FIFA has reportedly issued more than $160,000 in fines to countries whose fans use anti-gay chants. But sports fans say the chants won’t ever end until FIFA starts removing fans from games, actively shutting down matches (like the organization has said it would) or penalizing teams on the field for their fans’ homophobic actions.