With the World Cup now into full swing, we could be about to see a first for the tournament: several teams have been threatened with points deductions over the racist and homophobic chants of their fans.
Both Brazil and Mexico are under fire for fans who chanted ‘puto’, which is a term for a male prostitute and a gay slur in both Spanish and Portuguese. Brazilian fans chanted it at Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, while Mexican fans broke it out during their team’s match against Cameroon. Fifa has confirmed that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against the two countries - this will likely initially simply be a warning, but if either team’s fans continue the offensive chants then there could be point deductions made.
Keen to prove that homophobia isn’t the only form of bigotry alive and well, both Russia and Croatia are also under fire for fans who brought neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic banners to their matches. Both teams have been penalized in the past for racist and anti-Semitic chants, including “monkey calls.”
Piara Powar, executive director of Fare and a member of FIFA’s anti-racism task force, told British newspaper The Telegraph that “the levels of homophobic abuse at some matches is also totally unacceptable," adding, "there is some rapid education required before it begins to run out of control."
Both Brazil and Mexico play their next matches on Monday, June 23rd, and if ‘puto’ is heard again then there could be a serious impact on the tournament.