The campaign, called ‘Embraced by Soccer’ (Abrazados por el Fútbol) was prompted by bad behaviour by Mexican fans who repeatedly chant ‘ehh puto’ (a derogatory term which refers to a male prostitute) at the players of opposing teams.
The chant is thought to have originated among fans of the Chivas club of Guadalajara and grew in popularity after a 2004 match between the Mexican and U.S. national teams that was played in the same city, reports ABC news.
The new campaign features several 30-second videos starring popular players asking fans not to engage in discriminatory behaviour.
However, despite being aired the before the match and during half-time, the video messages didn’t stop fans from chanting during a game at the capital’s Azteca Stadium the same night it was launched (Tuesday, 29 March).
MFS secretary general Guillermo Cantu, said that the aim of the videos was to discourage “a practice that is contrary to respect and the dignity of people.”
“For us, as a federation, this is a chant that we do not like. We have recognized that some people have interpreted it as a homophobic exclamation,” said Cantu.
Cantu did not believe that fans used the chant with any homophobic intent but acknowledged that it was inappropriate. “We do not believe that the fans mean it in that way — they come to have fun and nothing more,” he said. “Nevertheless, we do think there are better ways of expressing enthusiasm and even messing with the opponent to put pressure on him.”
In 2014 Mexico’s national squad were investigated following their supporters repeated chants against rival goalkeepers during the World Cup. Though cleared of wrongdoing at the time, Mexico has since been hit with fines for “insulting and discriminatory chants”.
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