Mexico’s national football team has begged fans to stop the homophobic chanting that’s led to FIFA banning spectators from two World Cup qualifier matches.
Mexican national team sporting director Gerardo Torrado now fears more punishment awaits if fans continue using the homophobic chant in upcoming games.
“If we don’t have a chance to participate in the World Cup, that’s going to be awful for everybody – for us, the federation, for the players and for the fans and supporters as well,” Torrado told The Tennessean. “So we need them to continue supporting us, but in a good way.”
He said the team are living through “a tough moment” as FIFA investigates alleged homophobia at four recent games in the US, three of which were halted by officials because of fan behaviour.
As well as a spectator ban FIFA also fined the FMF $65,000, prompting the organisation’s president, Yon de Luisa, to issue a stern warning to fans.
“What for some seemed to be fun, I have news for you. It isn’t,” he said at a news conference on 18 June. “Because of it we’re kept out of the stadium and kept away from our national team. Please stop. Stop now.”
His words were echoed by team manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who also urged fans to clean up their language.
“We’re living through a hard situation,” he said. “I want to stress to the fans, come to the stadium. Come enjoy yourselves. We will put on a good show for you. But support us and respect the opponent.”
With tensions running high ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on 10 July, the national team has tweeted out yet another warning to fans.
The tweet, featuring the hashtag #SupportWithoutOffending, highlights the escalating sanctions if the offensive chant is used, starting with a fan being ejected to players having to leave the field to a possible forfeit of the match.
“Because of one word, we could all be silenced,” the video says. “A World Cup means a lot to all of us. It is a passion for millions of us. Let’s not let the actions of a few ruin it for all of us.
“If you see someone chanting, say something. Call them out. … Cheer all you want, just not that word that will sideline us all.”