At a news conference Tuesday, midfielder Marco Fabian asked the Mexican fans to stop using an anti-gay slur as a chant against opposing goalkeepers.
Following repeated warnings and fines for previous instances, FIFA is investigating an incident from Mexico’s 1-0 win over Germany where fans were heard yelling the Spanish word “puto” as the German goaltender approached a goal kick. Instead, according to ESPN, Fabian wants the fans in Russia for the World Cup to sing a popular song instead.
Fabian urged Mexico fans instead to sing well-known Mexican song Cielito Lindo (“Ay, ay, ay, ay, Canta y no llores”).
“It’s a good moment to send a message,” said the Eintracht Frankfurt player in a news conference at the team’s training base outside of Moscow. “We ask people not to do the chant. There are different rules now. It would be a shame for people to not be allowed in. It’s nice to hear ‘Cielito Lindo’ and the shout of ‘Mexico.’ We should [try to] avoid punishments.”
What does the chant mean?
As our Henry Bushnell explained, the word “puto” has multiple meanings, one of which translates to an English anti-gay slur that begins with the letter “f” that is considered discriminatory language and grounds for discipline in the eyes of FIFA. But it can mean other things, too:
It also can mean “man whore” or “coward.” Simply yelling “Coward!” at a goalkeeper, of course, wouldn’t be cause for punishment. But given the multiple meanings, there is a clear anti-gay implication.
The Mexican federation is trying to stop its fans from using the chant
After FIFA opted not to hand down any discipline when the chant was used at the 2014 World Cup, it has changed course in a big way in recent years with fines against the Mexican federation.
For its part, the Mexican federation, per ESPN.com, has assembled “educational campaigns” in an effort to stop its fans from using the chant. Additionally, it is telling fans that if they are caught yelling the chant, they will be unable to attend future World Cup games in Russia.
Mexico is anticipating another fine
As it has 12 previous times in cases of anti-gay abuse in the lead up to the 2018 World Cup, FIFA is expected to levy a fine to the Mexican federation. According to ESPN, the federation is anticipating a fine of 500,000 pesos, which is roughly 24,000 in U.S. dollars.
In the meantime, FIFA officials continue to gather evidence while Mexican officials are considering booting fans from matches if the behavior continues.
“What we have to do and keep doing is uniting with the fans to abstain from [doing] the chant,” said FMF director of national teams Dennis Te Kloese in an interview with ESPN on Monday. “The consequences are really big, not just for the federation, but also for the fans here.
“The local [organizing] committee can evict people or take away Fan IDs. You’ve seen what the security is like in Russia and it isn’t joking around. We can all come together to bring an end to this chant. It honestly affects us in a lot of ways and here in Russia more than ever we have to stop. We ask fans not to do it.”
Mexico’s second game in Group A play is on Saturday against South Korea in Rostov.
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