FIFA is looking into whether a soccer chant from Mexican fans is homophobic, after complaints following Mexico’s 1-0 win over Germany on Saturday.
Mexican supporters in Russia chanted a slur while German goalie Manuel Neuer took a goal kick.
The chant, which is popular in Mexico, has fan beginning with “Ehhh” as the goaltender winds up, and ends with the word “p–o” when he kicks, the Guardian reports.
The word is a homophobic slang for a male prostitute.
FIFA announced Monday it was opening a disciplinary procedure against Mexico for the chant.
“Further updates will be communicated in due course,” said FIFA. “As proceedings are ongoing, please understand we cannot comment further at this stage.”
The Mexican football federation (FMF), which has repeatedly appealed to fans to stop the chant, was sanctioned 12 times for homophobic chanting during the World Cup qualifying campaign, receiving warnings for the first two offences and fines for 10 more.
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Gay rights groups have frequently argued against the chants.
But Mexican fans in Russia argue it’s “normal.”
“Yeah it’s completely normal and it’s not used to, you know, say something bad about the goalkeepers, it’s part of the passion that we live in Mexico,” Gerardo Fisher told reporters. “We are not trying to insult anybody, so hopefully FIFA will understand that.”
“We have actually been saying that for the last 10, 15 years, I would say. That chant is actually done in our tournament in Mexico so this has been around for a few years, so it’s controversial as to why they are mentioning now,” Chris Rodriguez said.
“But as far as the meaning of it, I don’t think it’s anything to do with homosexuals, I think it is more whether, you know, you are going to chicken out as they say in the U.S. or are you going to face the world and be brave and be good.”
After the match up, the Mexican football federation tweeted a warning, asking fans to avoid the word.
The chant was widely heard at Mexico games in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when FIFA took no action, but it has since launched a clampdown and other Latin American teams, including Argentina and Chile, have also been fined.
*with files from Reuters
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