Mexico Coach Defends Use of Anti-Gay Slur by World Cup Fans

The Mexican soccer team is to be investigated by FIFA following reports of homophobic chants by fans.


Football Against Racism Europe has contacted the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) after fans allegedly chanted the abusive term “puto”, the Spanish word for a male prostitute, "fag" or "coward", and a derogatory term for gay men, during Mexico’s win over Cameroon on June 13.

Mexican soccer coach Miguel Herrera has said that the slur, chanted by fans during opposition goal kicks, is “not that bad.” Speaking to The Christian Science Monitor, Mexican soccer fan Javier Ángeles argued that “puto” is used to point out cowardice and not to imply sexual preference.

However, according to Alejandro Brito Lemus, the director of the Mexican magazine Letra S, which covers LGBTQI issues, the use of the term by fans is “completely homophobic.”

Mexico is now under an investigation by FIFA. In a statement, the international governing body for soccer said:

“We encourage individuals and groups such as FARE to submit any evidence in their possession with regard to discriminatory behavior for the analysis and consideration of the FIFA disciplinary committee.”

FIFA is also looking into allegations of homophobic slurs by Brazilian fans, as well the use of anti-Semitic banners by Croatian and Russian fans.

Although FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff have pledged to use the World Cup as a platform against racism and discrimination, it has been argued that FIFA’s actions are hypocritical as it has awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar, despite human rights abuses in those countries and Russia’s 2013 decision to pass anti-gay laws.

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