World Cup: FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Mexico over anti-gay chant
The shine from Mexico’s opening-game victory over Germany was dulled Monday when the Associated Press reported FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the team because its fans used an anti-gay slur during the game.
Mexico supporters chanted the slur when German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer prepared to take a goal kick in the 24th minute of Sunday’s game at the Luzhniki Stadium. Fans of the Mexican team use the chant to insult opposing goalkeepers as they take a goal kick.
The Mexican soccer federation has been repeatedly fined by FIFA over fans chanting the slur but the sanctions haven’t escalated. The federation and players previously have urged fans to stop the chant through public statements but that has proven unsuccessful.
FIFA did not elaborate on the nature of the disciplinary proceedings and didn’t say when a hearing would take place.
“We cannot comment further at this stage,” FIFA said in a statement.
FIFA, under pressure to stop racist and anti-gay activity in Russia, is using a new anti-discrimination procedure for the World Cup. Under the procedure, referees are instructed to stop the game for an announcement on the public-address system when discriminatory behavior is seen or heard. If it continues, the official can suspend the game, and then abandon it if the behavior persists.
That procedure was not used Monday.
“A public announcement was prepared, but the chants ceased,” FIFA said.
Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of the LBGTQ sports website Outsports.com, said FIFA isn’t doing enough to stop the chant.
“They have to stop matches,” he said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to stop it.”
Four days earlier, a gay couple from France, visiting Russia for the World Cup, was attacked in St. Petersburg. One of the men reportedly suffered a concussion, an open head injury and a fractured jaw. He was hospitalized. Russia passed anti-gay legislation in 2013.
Croatia sends player home
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic sent forward Nikola Kalinic home Monday after he refused to take the field during the team’s opening match. Kalinic apparently cited a back injury for his refusal to enter as a substitute during Croatia’s 2-0 victory over Nigeria on Saturday.
Dalic said Kalinic also refused to take the field during a friendly with Brazil and for a practice session Sunday.
It is too late for Croatia to call a replacement, so the team will continue its World Cup run with just 22 players on its squad.
Quake shakes Japanese team
Japanese coach Akira Nishino said he and several of his players had acquaintances or loved ones affected by Monday’s 6.1 earthquake in Osaka, Japan’s second-largest city. Speaking before Monday’s training session, Nishino said the news was making it difficult to concentrate on the team’s Group H opener against Colombia on Tuesday in Saransk.
“The psychological impact is something I’m slightly worried about at this point,” Nishino said. “As staff members, we are consulting with them and I’d like them to be settled down as soon as possible.”
Nishino said he and players found out about the earthquake shortly after it happened because an alarm went off at the team hotel and blared for about 15 minutes around the same time as the earthquake struck.
Iceland’s team announced in a tweet Monday that 99.6% of TV viewers on the island watched its 1-1 draw against Argentina, a figure that raised at least one question: what were the other 0.4% watching?
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