(Reuters) - Mexican soccer bosses told match officials on Friday to suspend games if fans shout homophobic or racist slurs and warned that they will take players off the pitch if the chants do not stop.
If home supporters continue with the abuse then the offending club will be made to play their next home game behind closed doors, while abuse by opposing fans will lead to fines, officials from the local federation and league told reporters.
“The act is discriminatory if a third party feels affected by it,” said the president of the Mexican Football Federation, Yon de Luisa.
“We are being proactive with FIFA and in no way do we want to see Mexican football affected.
“Mexico is a recidivist,” he added, in reference to the national team, where chants that gay groups call offensive are common.”
Games will be halted for at least five minutes after the first offence and possibly longer if the players are removed a second time, officials said, adding that clubs were also being instructed to banish offenders from the ground.
Officials said they will explain the new rules to fans over the next three games, and that the new regulations will come into full effect in the 15th week of the season.
The decision comes two months after FIFA tightened its disciplinary code to clamp down on discriminatory songs and chants.
Mexican fans have gained a reputation for shouting homophobic slurs at goal kicks and the national side has been sanctioned by soccer’s world governing body FIFA on more than a dozen occasions for discriminatory chanting.
Mexican players, led by Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, appealed to fans to stop the chanting in a 2016 publicity campaign.
Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ken Ferris