Mexico Coach Defends Fans as FIFA Investigates World Cup Slurs

Mexico’s coach defended the use of a gay slur used by the team’s fans at the World Cup after soccer’s governing body started an investigation.

Fans at the World Cup have carried on a practice common in Mexico of shouting a derogatory term every time the opposing goalkeeper takes a kick. FIFA two days ago said it has started disciplinary proceedings.

“We’re with our fans,” said Mexico coach Miguel Hererra. “It’s something they do to pressure the opposing goalkeeper.”

Organizers and Brazil’s government are using the tournament to fight discrimination, with Brazil President Dilma Rousseff speaking before the event about fighting racism, a common problem in soccer stadiums.

Football Against Racism Europe, an anti-discrimination organization, said its contacted FIFA about incidents involving fans from Mexico, Brazil, Russia and Croatia.

“Speaking generally, we encourage individuals and groups such as FARE to submit any evidence in their possession with regard to discriminatory behavior for the analysis and consideration of the FIFA disciplinary committee,” FIFA said in a statement.

Under FIFA’s regulations supporters face punishments including “suspension or expulsion” if they have been found to have breached the regulations. European soccer body UEFA has enforced stadium closures in recent years.

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