Mexico cracks down on homophobic slurs in football
The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) announced a new crackdown Friday on the homophobic slurs often heard at its matches, warning that the controversial tradition could get the country banned from the 2022 World Cup.
Mexican football fans are known for shouting out “Puto!”, a homophobic insult, when the opposing team takes a goal kick, a custom that has repeatedly led to FIFA fining the FMF.
“If we don’t solve this problem before qualifiers start for the 2022 World Cup, it will endanger our chance to participate” in the tournament, FMF president Yon de Luisa told a press conference.
“We are trying to eradicate all racist slurs and discrimination from our football,” added Enrique Bonilla, the head of the Mexican first division, the Liga MX.
“A partir de la Jornada 15, el árbitro tomará en primera instancia de suspender el partido, en segunda los jugadores se retirarán y en tercera se jugará el siguiente partido a puerta cerrada”: Enrique Bonilla#FMFporNuestroFútbol
— Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (@FMF) September 20, 2019
They announced harsh measures for league matches, aimed at drilling the message into fans ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. Starting next week, for the next three rounds of league play, officials will stop the match if there is a homophobic slur and play an announcement over the loudspeakers.
The following round, in case of a second incident during a match, officials will have the option to order the teams back to their changing rooms. And if the insults continue a third time, the local club will be penalized.
“We are repeat offenders. We have already been fined 14 times by FIFA, and now we are facing more severe penalties, bigger fines, loss of points, relegation and even a ban,” said De Luisa.
FIFA first punished Mexico for homophobic slurs in 2015, fining the FMF more than $15,000 after a World Cup qualifying match against Ecuador in Mexico City.
Since then, the world football governing body has imposed 13 more fines, including one for more than $10,000 after Mexico’s opening match against Germany at last year’s World Cup.
Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It has been defined as contempt, prejudice, aversion, hatred or antipathy, may be based on irrational fear and ignorance, and is often related to religious beliefs.
Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such as discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientations that are non-heterosexual.Recognized types of homophobia include institutionalized homophobia, e.g. religious homophobia and state-sponsored homophobia, and internalized homophobia, experienced by people who have same-sex attractions, regardless of how they identify.
Negative attitudes toward identifiable LGBT groups have similar yet specific names: lesbophobia is the intersection of homophobia and sexism directed against lesbians, biphobia targets bisexuality and bisexual people, and transphobia targets transgender and transsexual people and gender variance or gender role nonconformity.
According to 2010 Hate Crimes Statistics released by the FBI National Press Office, 19.3 percent of hate crimes across the United States “were motivated by a sexual orientation bias.”
Moreover, in a Southern Poverty Law Center 2010 Intelligence Report extrapolating data from fourteen years (1995–2008), which had complete data available at the time, of the FBI’s national hate crime statistics found that LGBT people were “far more likely than any other minority group in the United States to be victimized by violent hate crime.”
The term homophobia and its usage have been criticized by several sources as unwarrantedly pejorative.