Mexico to play World Cup qualifiers without fans in response to anti-gay chants, FIFA announces

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Mexico’s men’s national soccer team will be without fans for its first two home 2022 World Cup qualifier games after FIFA announced a sanction against the Mexican Federation in response to anti-gay chants that broke out during two Olympic qualifying matches.

FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, released a statement on Friday announcing that Mexico’s home game against Jamaica on Sept. 2 and Canada on Oct. 7 will be played without fans in response to homophobic chants that were heard during two March games against the Dominican Republic and the United States. 

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In addition, the federation was also fined roughly $65,000. 

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Federation with a fine of 60,000 Swiss francs and the condition that they play their next two official home games behind closed doors as a consequence of the anti-gay chants heard in the matches against the Dominican Republic and the United States, played in Guadalajara on March 18 and 24, respectively,” the statement read, via ESPN.

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FIFA also announced that Mexico could face further discipline for similar fan behavior during a May 29 friendly against Iceland. 

It did not mention if a similar incident that occurred during the United States 3-2 victory over Mexico in the first CONCACAF Nations League final earlier this month would also be investigated. Derogatory chants broke out and U.S. attacker Gio Reyna was hit in the face with an object thrown by a fan.

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President of the Mexican federation Yon de Luisa addressed the sanction at a press conference where she cautioned fans about their behavior. 

“What for some seemed to be fun, I have news for you. It isn’t,” de Luisa said, via The Los Angeles Times. “Because of it we’re kept out of the stadium and kept away from our national team. Please stop. Stop now.”

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