Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay have been fined by FIFA for anti-gay chants by their national team fans. Proceedings against Honduras are apparently ongoing.
According to an official FIFA press release, the “insulting and discriminatory chants” came during World Cup qualifying matches. Chile faces a $70,000 Swiss franc-fine that spans across four distinct games, while the other four countries in question will be forced to pay $20,000 Swiss francs each.
“FIFA has been fighting discrimination in soccer for many years and one part of that has been through sanctions,” said Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee. “With the new comprehensive monitoring system for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the Disciplinary Committee has additional support thanks to the detailed reports provided by anti-discrimination match observers.” These particular fines have come about as a result of analyzing the specific circumstances of each case, the position adopted by the association, the match observer’s report and any other relevant evidence.
“But disciplinary proceedings alone cannot change behaviour by certain groups of fans that unfortunately goes against the core values of our game,” Sulser went on. “FIFA and the entire football community have to be proactive in educating and inspiring a message of equality and respect across all levels of the game.”
FIFA was on the wrong end of things when it cleared Mexico of improper conduct charges during the 2014 World Cup. While we understand that regulating chants can be tricky (just reflect on La Liga’s recent struggles with the Neymar case for one such example), we simply cannot allow gay slurs to get lost in translation on the world’s biggest stage. For a linguistic, cultural, and practical dissection of the “puto” chant issue, check out this Fusion piece published in the aftermath of the World Cup:
“Instead of shouting puto when a goalie kicks a hopeless long ball forward, couldn’t we just share a tasty Michelada and shout pendejo instead? And if you hear somebody next to you shout puto at a game, a stare and substitute word should suffice. Until you educate somebody who is subtly heterosexist about why they’re being offensive, you have little hope of changing behaviors or attitudes. Don’t turn a possible ally into an enemy. And, of course, don’t hold your breath waiting for FIFA.”
Looks like we might not have to wait much longer.