ZURICH South American champions Chile have been handed a stadium ban for the third time in the 2018 World Cup qualifying competition because of homophobic chanting by their fans, FIFA said on Monday.
Chile will have to play two more games away from the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium), in an addition to an existing ban. They were also fined 30,000 Swiss francs ($29,000).
"The proceedings relate to homophobic chants by the team’s fans and follow previous sanctions for similar incidents during the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup," world soccer's ruling body said.
Already forced to find an alternative venue for the match against Venezuela in March, Chile must also face Paraguay and Ecuador away from their largest stadium and the traditional venue for important internationals.
They were previously barred from playing Bolivia at the Estadio Nacional and before that had been fined 70,000 Swiss francs.
Homophobic chanting is deeply ingrained in some Latin American countries, especially when the visiting goalkeeper runs up to take a goal kick, but until recently it was overlooked by soccer authorities.
In a long list of sanctions from recent World Cup qualifiers, Romania and Honduras were handed one-match stadium bans.
Romania were barred from playing their next qualifier at Bucharest's National Stadium, and fined 95,000 Swiss francs, after incidents during the game against Poland.
Honduras, fined 40,000 Swiss francs, must face Costa Rica away from their preferred Olimpico stadium in San Pedro Sula following trouble during the game against Panama.
Greece were fined 80,000 Swiss francs for the "display of a political banner by fans" against Bosnia and Ukraine 60,000 Swiss francs for "discriminatory chants" by supporters against Serbia.
($1 = 1.0270 Swiss francs)
(Editing by Ed Osmond)