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La Liga Mexico Has Zero Tolerance For Homophobic Slurs During Games; New Serious Consequences Are Implemented

For years, Mexican football teams have faced exorbitant fines because their fans continue to chant homophobic slurs during games. FIFA has come down hard on the teams but fans continue to scream the offensive slur game after game after game. It’s long been overdue for the league and team management to take a stand and demand better from the fans. And, finally, it seems that the league may be doing just that.

Over the weekend a new campaign was announced by the Mexican soccer league that includes numerous tools to convince fans to give up the homophobic chant and, instead, support their favorite teams in a way that doesn’t alienate members of the LGBTQ community.

Liga MX has announced new campaign to put an end to homophobic screams at many matches.

As part of a campaign to encourage fans to drop the homophobic slur that has long been common at Mexican games, Liga MX has launched the ‘Scream…Mexico’ initiative. During a press conference, Yon de Luisa, president of the Mexican Soccer Federation (FMF), announced that together with Mexico’s anti-discrimination council, the league is taking steps to ensure social inclusion and equality across Mexico.

“We invite fans to shout for their passion and for the identity that represents them, to shout for the love of their jersey, for our football, but avoiding any manifestation of violence at all costs, that is why today the invitation is shout Mexico!” Yon emphasized.

Enforcement is also part of the campaign. Liga MX president Mikel Arriola said in a statement that the league would adopt a zero-tolerance approach over homophobic language.

“We are going to take the measure of removing people who are chanting from the stadium, and it sends a message of zero tolerance to people who use such terrible expressions,” he said.

The league is going so far as to say that they may use tools like facial recognition to remove fans found guilty of chanting the homophobic slur.

Consequences don’t end there. Attendees found committing this crime would also be prohibited from attending future matches. The campaign, designed alongside FIFA and CONCACAF, hopes to change the discourse of violence that is so often normalized in the culture of football.

The implementation of this protocol, designed by FIFA and Concacaf, proposes changing the discourse of violence normalized in the culture of football.

The new policies come as Mexico repeatedly faces punishment from FIFA for the fans’ behavior.

In just the last six years, the Mexican Soccer Federation has been fined 15 times for the homophobic chants at football games. In an attempt to punish fans who participate in the chanting, FIFA has repeatedly introduced new enforcement measures – most recently in 2019.

Referees now have wide-ranging powers in order to persuade fans to stop the chants. First, they can pause the game and urge fans to stop. They can also suspend the match and move the players to their locker rooms. And if none of that convinces fans to stop, the referee can also end the game and declare it abandoned.

Matches have become so overwhelmed by the fans’ homophobic actions that players have had to beg them to stop. In March, during a qualifying event for the Olympics against the U.S. National Men’s Team and the Dominican Republic, the chant was heard again. El Tri’s players begged and pleaded with fans to stop but were met with deaf ears. As part of the punishment, the team’s next two games were ordered to be played in empty stadiums with no fans present.

Speaking after the punishment was handed out, Mexico’s head coach pointed out how the fans’ behavior was jeopardizing the team’s future.

“I want to call on our fans to reflect on what these attitudes create for us. It pulls our team away from its fans. It means we play in empty stadiums and even that we could miss out on an international competition,” he was quoted as saying by ESPN.

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