Mexico fan group backs ban of anti-gay chant

U.S.-based Mexico fan group Pancho Villas' Army has inserted a "no goalkeeper chant" clause into the group's membership and made abstaining from shouting the anti-gay chant a condition for buying tickets for games in their section, in a bid to help put an end to the chant often heard in stadiums when the Mexico national team plays.

A section of El Tri fans regularly shout an anti-gay slur as the opposition goalkeeper runs up to take his goal-kick and the federation has been fined on multiple occasions by FIFA because of it, although it was stamped out at Russia 2018 after an educational campaign from the federation, fan groups and players, as well as the threat of Fan IDs being taken away.

But the chant was heard regularly during Mexico games in the United States this summer at the Gold Cup.

"Moving forward, we will be inserting [an anti-chant] clause into our membership rules and code of conduct," wrote PVA founder Sergio Tristan in a statement. "While our code generally covers the chant we will specifically list it as an unacceptable conduct.

"The same clause will be inserted into our ticket purchases pages," the statement said. "We already inform all PVA ticket purchasers that our section is a standing, cheering, and singing section. The same page will now inform potential PVA ticket purchasers that our section is [an anti-chant] section too."

Fans that have bought tickets for Mexico's game on Sept. 10 against Argentina in San Antonio, Texas and don't want to adhere to the policy will receive a refund for their tickets.

"It's about people joining who wish to create an environment that feels welcoming to our LGBTQ Mexico fans," reads the statement. "As an organization that has LGBTQ leaders and members we take this charge very seriously."

FIFA has warned soccer federations all over the world, including Mexico, that discriminatory chanting will activate the "three-step procedure" that could lead to the abandoning of World Cup qualifying matches if the chant is heard. The referee would first stop the match, then suspend it and eventually abandon it if the discriminatory behavior doesn't cease.

FIFA has recommended the Fare network's Global Guide to Discriminatory Practices in Football as a "useful aid to identifying discriminatory behavior."

It defines the goalkeeper chant as "a homophobic chant usually directed at the opposition goalkeeper when he is taking a goal kick."

"The word has, however, a more general heterosexist connotation and, particularly in a football context, is used as a pejorative and homophobic chant, referring to gay men in a derogatory way," reads the Fare network's explanation of the word in English.

The chant is regularly heard at Liga MX games and first made international headlines during the 2014 World Cup.

Current El Tri captain Andres Guardado praised fans after the chant wasn't heard at the Confederations Cup in 2017.

"It was time to take a radical measure so that they stop doing it," said Guardado. "We hope they do the same at home and that people understand that it does help us a lot if they stop shouting it."