As the South Korean goalkeeper approaches the ball to take a goal kick in Mexico’s second World Cup match in Russia tomorrow, fans have pledged that they will chant “Eh, México!” instead of the familiar cry of “Eh, puto!”
Earlier this week, the Mexican team known as El Tri issued a plea via social media to its supporters to drop the popular chant after FIFA, international soccer’s governing body, announced disciplinary procedures on Monday following its use during the first-round victory against Germany in Moscow last Sunday.
The Mexican Football Federation was slapped with a fine of 10,000 Swiss Francs (US $10,120) Wednesday after FIFA reviewed evidence of the puto chant, which is used to taunt the opposing team’s goalie. Puto means faggot or male prostitute.
Outside the Mexican team’s hotel in Rostov-On-Don, where tomorrow’s match will kick off at 10:00am CDT, a group of El Tri fans assured a reporter from the newspaper El Universal that they won’t be using the “Eh, Puto!” chant.
“It’s not fun anymore. Instead of helping, it’s harmful,” they said. “It’s not a matter of being fined or that they could take our fan ID away, it’s a question of culture, that’s clear now.”
Asked what would replace the chant, the fans broke into an elongated cry of “Eh, México!”
If, on the contrary, the homophobic chant is heard at the stadium during tomorrow’s match or during upcoming encounters, the size of the fine could increase or in a worst-case scenario it could even lead to a deduction of points from the team or its expulsion from the tournament.
Three observers are attending every match at this year’s World Cup to report discriminatory behavior by spectators.
There were an estimated 30,000 Mexican supporters at the Luzhniki Stadium for Mexico’s first match and there is no doubt the team’s passionate fans will turn out in force again tomorrow.
The leader of one group of fans called “Más unidos que Nunca” (More united than ever) said that only a small minority of Mexican fans are responsible for starting the chant but added that they incite others around them.
“They’re small groups that continue to insist on doing it. They get caught up in the excitement . . . they start shouting and other people follow them and that’s how it becomes so big,” Eric Gómez said.
On the pitch, a win against South Korea tomorrow would almost guarantee Mexico’s qualification to the knockout stage of the tournament.
El Tri will play its third and final group match against Sweden on Wednesday.
Source: El Universal (sp)