International CONCACAF football final stopped twice due to homophobic chants

The match between the United States and Mexico was suspended for the second year in a row because of homophobic chants led by fans.

Photo of referee Drew Fischer raising right arm, he stopped the CONCACAF game due to homophobic chants

The CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) Nations League football final between the United States and Mexico was stopped twice on Sunday, March 24, due to homophobic chants led by fans.

Sunday night’s match was played at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in front of a crowd of 59,471. During the second half of the game, homophobic chants erupted from Mexico fans, directed towards US goalkeeper Matt Turner.

Canadian referee Drew Fischer stopped the final during the 88th minute of play. It resumed after a four-minute break, but after the chants restarted, Fischer was forced to halt the game again, six minutes into stoppage time.

After the second interruption, the game was able to resume again after a 90-second break.


In addition to chanting slurs, after Gio Reyna’s second goal was scored, some US players and coach Gregg Berhalter were hit by debris launched from the crowd.

Berhalter said: “That was unfortunate because we want a really competitive game, we want a great atmosphere but we don’t want to get things thrown at us. It’s unsafe and someone can get hurt.”

After the stoppages, the teams played through a ninth minute of added time, and the United States went on to win 2-0.

On Monday, CONCACAF issued a statement saying that it “strongly condemns the discriminatory chanting by some fans” and that “Security staff in the stadium identified and ejected a significant number of fans, and the referee and match officials activated the FIFA protocol.

“It is extremely disappointing that this matter continues to be an issue at some matches,” it added.


For years, some Mexico supporters have directed homophobic slurs at opposing teams’ goalkeepers, and this is the second year in a row that the game between the US and Mexico has been suspended due to discriminatory chants led by fans.

Last year’s semi final at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas was stopped by Salvadoran referee Iván Barton during the eighth minute of a scheduled 12-minute stoppage time while the US was ahead 3-0. Additionally, in 2021, the Mexico soccer team was forced to play in an empty stadium following a game where fans shouted homophobic chants and slurs at opposing players.

FIFA is expected to hold the Mexican soccer federation responsible. In the past, fines were issued after similar incidents in qualifying matches for the World Cup and Olympics in 2018 and 2022.

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