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Mexico fans urged again to stop anti-gay chant

CHICAGO -- Mexico fans are being asked to stop a controversial goalkeeper chant for Sunday's CONCACAF Gold Cup final against the United States on Sunday at Soldier Field, with FIFA warning of the prospect of games being suspended during the next World Cup qualifying cycle if it continues.

El Tri fans shout an anti-gay slur as the opposition goalkeeper runs up to take his goal-kick and the federation has been fined on multiple occasions because of it, with the practice being replicated by fans in other Latin American countries, including Brazil in the Copa America.

"The goal-kick chant from Mexican fans is offensive, has no place in football, and must be stopped," read a statement from CONCACAF, provided to ESPN FC. "PA announcements have been made at the games, urging fans to refrain from using this chant and to consider the impact of their behavior on those around them."

The chant has been heard at all Mexico's Gold Cup games so far this summer, having been largely stopped at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, following an educational campaign by the Mexican federation and players. Fans caught shouting the chant were warned they would have their Fan IDs confiscated, which would've prevented them from entering the stadiums in Russia.

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But Mexico will have to stamp it out moving forward for all matches, or potentially suffer in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, according to a recently adopted FIFA protocol.

FIFA "urges" all associations, leagues, clubs and disciplinary bodies to adopt its Anti-Discrimination Monitoring system, according to a spokesperson, which includes the "three-step procedure" of the referee first stopping the match, then suspending it and eventually abandoning it if the discriminatory behavior continues. That "three-step procedure" is preceded by a pre-match stadium announcement and a reactive warning to the crowd.

FIFA informed associations on June 7 that such anti-discrimination measures will be enforced for World Cup qualifying for Qatar 2022.

"FIFA's member associations have recently been informed about the concrete anti-discrimination measures that will be in place for the preliminary competition of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022," a FIFA spokesperson told ESPN FC.

FIFA has recommended the Fare network's Global Guide to Discriminatory Practices in Football as a "useful aid to identifying discriminatory behavior."

It defines the goalkeeper chant as "a homophobic chant usually directed at the opposition goalkeeper when he is taking a goal kick."

"The word has, however, a more general heterosexist connotation and, particularly in a football context, is used as a pejorative and homophobic chant, referring to gay men in a derogatory way," reads the Fare network's explanation of the word in English.

FIFA's guidelines has not been implemented so far by CONCACAF so far this summer at the Gold Cup, but the confederation added that it remains "committed" to stopping the chant moving forward.

"For several years, we have been committed to eradicating this chant from football culture. And we maintain this will only happen, over the long-term, through educational initiatives -- such as our 'Let's Live in a State of Goal' campaign -- that are embraced by all of the stakeholders in our region," the CONCACAF statement said. 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in November 2017 that FIFA was wrong to fine Mexico's federation for fans chanting the slur at opposition goalkeepers at World Cup qualifying games. However, the court stated that although the chants are "insulting words," FIFA had helped create a "wrong -- but legitimate -- understanding" that cases would not be punished, according to the Associated Press.

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