FIFA has launched disciplinary proceedings against Mexico after it was alleged some of their fans chanted anti-gay slur “puto” during their 1-0 win over Group F rivals Germany at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Reuters (h/t ESPN) reported the chants were heard when Die Mannschaft goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was preparing to take a free-kick in the first half, although some El Tri supporters have said there’s no homophobic intent.
Henry Bushnell of Yahoo explained the word “puto” translates into English as “coward” or “male prostitute,” but it can also be interpreted as a derogatory term towards gay people.
The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) previously warned their fans against using the term in question (tweet in Spanish) after FIFA said those found using the chant could be restricted access to stadiums.
The report noted Mexico’s history in chanting “Ehh puto!” as goalkeepers make their run-up for goal-kicks, touching on their and other Latin American team’s past fines from FIFA for the slur.
Most recently, Mexico had two fines against them cancelled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in November while other fines remained, with gay rights groups arguing the chant is homophobic.
FootballvHomophobia is a Twitter account aimed at raising awareness in gay rights issues in the sport, and they commented on FIFA’s need to levy more severe punishments to stop the infractions:
“25’: Mexico Begins ‘Puto’ Chant
There’s our first ‘Puto’ chant of the day. Mexico surely can expect yet another fine for that. Maybe, just maybe, FIFA needs to raise the number, because it isn’t going away” @FIFA what action are you taking on this? #WorldCuphttps://t.co/6COr5xRMPI
— FootballvHomophobia (@FvHtweets) June 17, 2018
Hirving Lozano was the hero for El Tri as they edged title-holders Germany to ascend to the top of Group F, though the chant controversy has tinged the result.
Not every aspect of their support was negative, however, as the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow shook under their celebrations following the win:
Those who say the chant has no homophobic intent and continue to sing it do so in the knowledge their federation (FMF) is likely to be stuck with more fines and potentially other punishments.
There comes a point where one starts to wonder if, at best, distracting the opposition goalkeeper during a goal-kick is worth the hit, with many fans seemingly not intent on stopping the chant despite protestations.