A host of stars have spoken out against homophobic chanting by fans.
The Mexican Soccer Federation has launched a campaign urging fans to refrain from anti-gay chants after drawing fines from FIFA earlier this year.
The campaign – called ‘Embraced by Soccer’, – consists of a number of 30-second videos in which popular stars including Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, Rafael Marquez and Andres Guardado tell fans to avoid discriminatory behaviour.
However, it seems the fight for equality in the world of Mexican football may be a long one after the campaign was announced hours before Mexico hosted Canada in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.
Fans at the capital’s Azteca Stadium made the chants throughout the match, even though the message was played for the crowd before the game and at halftime, according to Latin Times.
In a statement, the soccer federation said the videos aim to discourage “a practice that is contrary to respect and the dignity of people.”
“For us, as a federation, this is a chant that we do not like. We have recognised that some people have interpreted it as a homophobic exclamation,” Guillermo Cantu – the federation’s secretary-general – said.
“We do not believe that the fans mean it in that way – they come to have fun and nothing more,” he added.
“Nevertheless, we do think there are better ways of expressing enthusiasm and even messing with the opponent to put pressure on him.”
In January, Mexico was among six South American countries to receive a fine from FIFA for homophobic slurs during World Cup qualifiers throughout 2015.
Throughout last summer’s World Cup, supporters filled stadiums with chants of “iPuto!”during their team’s matches, most of which were broadcast worldwide.
“Puto” is a word for “male prostitute” that is often used as a gay slur in Mexico.
Many Mexico fans are upset that other countries claim the word is a gay slur; they say it is just another word, claiming cultural ignorance.
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera has previously defended supporters, saying the use of the word is “not that bad.”
“We’re with our fans. It’s something they do to pressure the opposing goalkeeper,” he claimed.
Watch the ad campaign below: