In terms of the result, Mexico’s 2-1 win over the United States last month, and the end of the Dos a Cero streak, was shocking. In terms of fan behavior, it was about what you’d expect.
Now comes word that Mexico has been fined by FIFA to the tune of $20,000 for “improper conduct among its own group of spectators.” The issue stems from El Tri fans who were documented shouting homophobic chants during the game.
That this happened at all isn’t a surprise. This is an ongoing problem with fans of the Mexican National Team (as well as Mexican club football), one that has seeped into MLS and even the NFL. The recent fine is the sixth levied against Mexico in the past 13 months, costing the FMF $105,000.
FIFA are also investigating a similar incident involving Mexico that happened four days later at the World Cup qualifier against Panama. The investigation into that incident is still pending.
It’s unclear whether this fine will precipitate any meaningful change. Given how long this problem has been allowed to fester, and the number and aggregate amount of fines Mexico has been hit with over this, there are only a couple reasons why this is still happening. Either the FMF is powerless to do anything about it, or they’re actively protecting their fans and their “right” to scream hate speech at matches, paying the fine rather than deal with the problem. Sure, the FMF started a PR campaign to discourage fans from shouting the chant, but it’s clear now that it’s not working, and that may be the most Mexico are willing to do unless FIFA lay down harsher penalties.
This comes after a weekend in which Birmingham City fans sung homophobic chants at the opposition in their home loss against Brighton and Hove Albion. Given that Brighton has a large and vibrant LGBT community, the chants were not an accident. Rainbow Laces are nice and all, but eventually people have to put in the work.