June 20, 2018 / 3:11 PM / a month ago

Soccer: Stop the homophobic chanting, Hernandez pleads with Mexico fans

(Note language some readers may find offensive in par three)

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group F - Germany vs Mexico - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 17, 2018 Mexico's Javier Hernandez during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

By Andrew Downie

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Mexican striker Javier Hernandez has appealed to his country’s football fans to stop their homophobic chanting at World Cup matches, arguing it could lead to further fines from FIFA.

Hernandez posted a message on Instagram on Wednesday asking fans to end their derogatory chants during their opponents’ goal kicks.

“To all Mexican fans in the stadiums, don’t shout ‘puto’,” Hernandez said. “Let’s not risk another sanction.”

Mexico caused a major shock by beating Germany 1-0 in their opening game in Group F. They next play South Korea on Saturday.

Mexicans have long shouted the word - slang for a male sex worker - which gay rights groups argue is homophobic.

Although the Mexican team has appealed before for an end to the chants – the players even released a video on the subject in 2016 – some supporters have not relented.

Thousands of Mexican fans have flooded into Russia for the World Cup and some chanted the abuse during the match against Germany on Sunday, prompting FIFA to announce disciplinary procedures earlier this week.

The Mexican football federation (FMF) was sanctioned 12 times for homophobic chanting during the World Cup qualifying campaign, receiving warnings for the first two offences and fines for 10 more.

The chant was also widely heard at Mexico games in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when FIFA took no action, but the governing body has since launched a clamp-down. Other Latin American teams, including Argentina and Chile, have also been fined.

FIFA is employing three specialist observers at each World Cup match to report discriminatory behaviour by spectators.

Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Tony Lawrence

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