The soccer stadium in which the chant Eh, puto! was born received an unprecedented sanction after fans refused to stop shouting the phrase at a match in Guadalajara on Friday.
The match between Atlas, of Guadalajara, and Tijuana’s Xolos on January 31 will now be played to an empty stadium.
The disciplinary commission of the Mexican Soccer Federation (FMF) announced on Monday that it had decided to sanction the stadium under its protocol for offensive expressions due to the behavior of spectators.
The disciplinary measure sets a precedent in the country, as it is the first time a soccer stadium has been sanctioned for the chant, regarded by many as a homophobic slur.
It was in the Jalisco Stadium that the chant was first shouted during a pre-Olympic match in 2004. The expression is prohibited by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) for being considered homophobic.
Despite many previous attempts to stop fans from shouting the phrase, the FMF has failed to change their behavior. None of the awareness campaigns it has attempted has been successful.
FIFA has threatened serious consequences if the phrase is repeated during international matches.
Referee Adonai Escobedo followed protocol established by new league regulations when the crowd first shouted the phrase. He issued a warning over the sound system.
He ordered a stop in play when the crowd repeated the chant a second time, and sent the teams to their locker rooms after the third.
Atlas captain Martín Nervo took advantage of the stop in play to address his team’s fans. The Argentinian soccer player begged them to stop shouting the phrase, but to no avail. When play was resumed minutes later, the fans once again repeated the chant.
As per the new regulations, the game was allowed to play out and the matter was sent to the league’s disciplinary commission.
The Atlas team issued a statement on Monday calling the punishment “very painful” as the stadium celebrates its 60th anniversary on January 31.
“We are against any type of discrimination both inside and outside of the club, so we’re calling upon the fans to eradicate these expressions which are out of line with the values we promote and aren’t constructive in any way,” the team said.
“Soccer is an opportunity for us to come together through sport and healthy coexistence. Nothing justifies this type of behavior,” it added.