FIFA is fed up with fans yelling out homophobic chants during games, and it continues to hold countries responsible for their behavior. The world soccer federation has fined Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico for homophobic chants during the most recent round of World Cup qualifiers.
Brazil was hit with the biggest fine of the Latino countries, as FIFA hit them with a $35,000 sanction due to being a repeat offender; in the last 18 months, the Brazilian Football Confederation has been punished for homophobic chants during World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Bolivia.
Mexico might as well have a direct deposit set up for fines, as this is their eighth time being punished by FIFA for, among other things, the infamous “eh puto” chant. This time, the Mexican Football Federation was fined $10,061 for behavior during the most recent Hex games in March. The Argentina Football Association was also fined for their hinchas’ behavior, for a total of $20,117.
The problem with the repeated fines is that they do not serve as severe enough punishments to deter the behavior. This is especially true as fans of those countries, Mexico especially, assert that chants like “eh puto” have a different, inoffensive meaning in their local culture.
If FIFA believes that the intent doesn’t matter–and, with offensive language, it often should not–then they need to step up sanctions from monetary fines to other, more severe determents. As part of FIFA’s commitment to their “Say No to Racism” campaign, they’ve punished clubs whose fans participate in racist behavior with matches played in front of empty stadiums; perhaps, homophobic chants should come under the same scrutiny.
Other countries fined on Friday were Italy, Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Montenegro, and Albania–whose 100,000 Swiss francs fine was the biggest in this round of punishments, due to flares being fired onto the field of play during their World Cup qualifying match against Italy.