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Homophobic soccer chant provokes debate in Mexico

January 19, 2016


The controversial chant was first sung by Atlas fans at the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara.

The controversial chant was first sung by Atlas fans at the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara in 2003.

For more than a decade, rowdy fans at soccer matches across Mexico have delighted in shouting “Ehhhputo!” — a slang term meaning “faggot” or male prostitute — as the opposition goalkeeper runs up to kick the ball. This practice is generally accepted in Mexico as a light-hearted attempt to distract the goalkeeper, but Mexico’s Football Federation is now facing mounting criticism about its defense of what many people feel is a homophobic chant.

Having previously tolerated the shouts, football’s governing body FIFA took action last week, fining Mexico and four other countries for what it deemed “insulting and discriminatory chants” by their supporters during recent qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup.

The Mexican Football Federation has appealed the $20,000 fine incurred by El Tri fans during the 3-0 victory against El Salvador at the Estadio Azteca on November 13. Guillermo Cantu, the general secretary of the federation, told ESPN last week that “you have to understand some words culturally” and claimed the chant “is not discriminatory”.

Many supporters consider the chant a harmless Mexican soccer tradition and feel that efforts to censor it infringe their right to freedom of speech. Ricardo Olvera, a Club America fan who was born in Mexico but raised in the United States, told VICE Sports the term can mean “dumb ass” or “bitch” and is only used by fans to gain home field advantage by distracting the opposing goalkeeper. Many critics of the term are “people that are not born in Mexico and don’t fully understand our culture,” he said…

Click here to read this article in full at VICE Sports.

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