The Azteca stadium, in Mexico City, during a match between El Tri and Canada, heading to Qatar 2022. Mauricio Salas (Getty Images)
The Mexican soccer battle to eradicate a homophobic cry has no end. Along the way, the Mexican Football Federation wants to minimize the damage caused by the punishments with millionaire fines and games behind closed doors. They have turned to the sport's highest authority, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), to appeal the latest FIFA sanction that forced them to play their next two home qualifiers without fans. And they have achieved a small victory in exchange for imposing restrictive controls and a threat to expel fans who shout "fucking" inside the stadium.
The Mexican team will play against Costa Rica and Panama with only 2,000 fans at the Azteca stadium. There will be no sale to the public and it will be the Federation itself that grants the tickets. In addition, and from now on, an unprecedented control will be imposed in Mexico where attendees will be asked to give their personal data to be able to enter the stadium, present an official identification and, of course, the ticket. Minors will depend on their parents or guardian. Staff dedicated to supervising fan behavior will also increase.
“I hope that with this new system we have already eliminated the risks of suffering new sanctions. We are convinced that people want to go to the stadiums to enjoy themselves, to have a good time, to cheer on their teams”, said Yon de Luisa, president of the Federation. The matches against the Ticos and Panamanians will be on January 30 and February 2. The first game with fans in which this new format will take place will be against the United States, scheduled for March 24 and in which the Azteca stadium will not be punished.
Mexico has accumulated up to 17 fines since 2014, the year in which FIFA promoted its crusade to eliminate any discriminatory and homophobic chant. The cry of "puto" has been, which began to be heard in Mexican stadiums from the 2000s. "We cannot tolerate discriminatory acts, we cannot play in empty stadiums, we cannot risk that the soccer authorities take away points [in the World Cup qualifiers],” De Luisa said. So far, El Tri is third in the standings for the World Cup in Qatar with 14 points. Canada leads the table with 16 units and is followed by the United States with 15.
The severity of FIFA against Mexico has intensified the debate on respect for human rights and sexual preferences in Qatar, the host country of the 2022 World Cup. Last December, the president of the organizing committee of the World Cup, Nasser Al-Khater, He told CNN that fans of the LGBTI community are guaranteed their place in the World Cup, but that "public displays of affection are frowned upon."
The great soccer tournament will start on November 21.
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