On June 18, FIFA finally handed down a meaningful sanction to the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), requiring Mexico to play its next two home games without fans because of continued use of a homophobic chant during matches. Now the FMF is trying to pull a fast one and make its women’s team serve the punishment.
The FIFA sanction was a result of Mexico fans repeatedly yelling “puto” — a homophobic slur — at opposing goalkeepers. Officially the fan ban stems from Mexico fans’ behavior at the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament in March. Even after FIFA and Concacaf asked Mexico fans to stop, they’ve been using this offensive chant for years before taking meaningful action.
It has taken FIFA far too long to finally start taking more serious action against Mexico for its fans' homophobic chants. This tweet is from four years ago. https://t.co/rXSDPiEgTk— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 18, 2021
Sadly, instead of expressing contrition and trying to improve and educate its fans, the FMF is trying to pass the buck onto the women’s team.
When the Mexico chant punishment was first doled out, it was assumed the two affected matches would be Mexico’s first two home World Cup qualifiers, which are against Jamaica on Sept. 2 and Canada on Oct. 7.
The FMF confirmed this week it’s trying to make the women’s team play without fans in a pathetic attempt to skirt accountability.
“The possibility exists that the senior men’s team as well as the senior women’s team (can serve the ban), because of the upcoming home schedule,” FMF president Yon de Luisa told Reforma. “There’s a FIFA friendly for the women’s team in September, too.”
De Luisa continued to W Deportes: “There are men’s team and women’s team matches in the next few months, and we still don’t know when this two-match suspension will be applied.”
FIFA did confirm the sanction refers to the next two official home matches regardless of who plays the game, so it appears Mexico has a legitimate argument, as shitty as it is. After all, the punishment stems from what happened at a U-23 tournament. But the Mexico women’s team doesn’t have any official home matches upcoming other than friendlies, which may or may not count.
“The sanction refers to the two next official home matches to be played by representatives of the Mexican Football Federation independent of their category," read a statement FIFA sent to ESPN Mexico.
The FMF has reportedly reached out to FIFA for clarification on who can serve the punishment and when. If FIFA sides with the FMF, Mexico’s men could have fans for their match against Canada on Oct. 7 thanks to a home friendly the Mexico women are playing before then.
Even if the FMF gets away with this through a technicality, it doesn’t make it any better, just like Bill Cosby getting out of prison on a technicality. The women’s team receives far less support from the FMF and it would be cruel and unfair to force them to serve a punishment the federation received because of fans of the men’s team.
It’s just another example that the FMF isn’t really serious about stamping out homophobia, it only wants to do the bare minimum to avoid any serious action against its men’s national team.