Mexico to play in empty stadium for 2 World Cup qualifers

Soccer

Fans cheer during an international friendly soccer match between Mexico and Ecuador in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

ZURICH (AP) — Mexico will have to play in an empty stadium for its next two home games in World Cup qualifying because of persistent anti-gay chants by fans, FIFA said Monday.

The Mexican soccer federation was also fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($110,000) for charges of “discriminatory behavior by supporters.” It’s the latest punishment in a long-standing campaign to stop fans from directing slurs at opposing players.

Mexico will host Costa Rica on Jan. 30 and Panama on Feb. 2 in an empty stadium, costing the federation millions of dollars in lost revenue.

The anti-gay chants were heard last month when Mexico hosted qualifiers against Canada and Honduras. The storied Azteca Stadium drew a combined attendance of more than 130,000 fans for those games.

The Azteca was empty when Mexico opened World Cup qualifying in September against Jamaica because of a previous FIFA punishment.

Mexico is scheduled to host the United States on March 24.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

More from Border Report

More Border Report