Mexican federation calls on fans to eradicate anti-gay chant

DENVER -- The Mexican football federation (FMF) was warned at last month's Confederations Cup about potential repercussions from anti-gay chanting by El Tri fans, but the notorious goalkeeper chant was heard again in Sunday's 3-1 victory over El Salvador in San Diego.

Mexico fans direct the chant in question at opposition goalkeepers as they take goal kicks and it gained international attention in Brazil 2014, when FIFA investigated it at the 2014 World Cup.

At the Confederations Cup, FIFA's disciplinary committee chairman Anin Yeboah "decided to impose a warning on the Mexican Football Federation (FMF)" for the chant after the opening game against Portugal in Kazan and the chant wasn't heard in the rest of the tournament.

But it could be heard loudly near the 30 minute mark on Sunday when El Salvador goalkeeper Benji Villalobos took his first goal kick, with the vast majority of the 51,133 fans inside Qualcomm Stadium supporting Mexico.

The FMF is concerned about a possible sanction during the Gold Cup if it continues and is hoping to gradually persuade fans not to do the chant.

"There is always a risk [of a sanction] and we are the most aware of that. We are trying to get that across," said FMF general secretary Guillermo Cantu on Monday in Denver, where Mexico plays Jamaica in its second Gold Cup match on Thursday.

"We appeal to you [the media] so that [raising awareness] is something we can do together."

The FMF has expressed its concern that games could be suspended under FIFA's new guidelines for referees, or that Mexico could be docked points.

Cantu suggested that despite the positive step in the Confederations Cup, fans won't be persuaded to stop the chant overnight and the process of eradicating it will take time.

"This isn't going to stop now," said Cantu. "We have to raise awareness, educate ourselves, make a huge effort.

"I think very important steps have been made.

"The subject was talked about a lot in the Confederations Cup and through different circumstances it was much more effective."