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June 18 (Reuters) - Mexico fans will be barred from attending their country’s first two home 2022 World Cup qualifiers after making homophobic chants during two Olympic qualifying games in March, FIFA said in a statement on Friday.
FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee also fined Mexico’s Football Federation (FMF) 60,000 Swiss francs ($65,118.30) for chants from supporters during games against the Dominican Republic on March 18 and the United States on March 24.
Mexico’s games against Jamaica on Sept. 2 and Canada on Oct. 7 in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying will be played in empty stadiums as a result of the sanctions.
“I hope this is the first and last sanction that FIFA imposes,” FMF president Yon de Luisa told a news conference.
FIFA has also launched a separate investigation against the FMF in relation to homophobic chants by Mexico fans during a friendly against Iceland in Arlington, Texas on May 29.
De Luisa said there is a risk to Mexico’s involvement in the 2026 World Cup - which they are set to co-host with the United States and Canada - if fan behaviour does not improve.
“How can we host a World Cup if we are going to have our stadiums empty? If we don’t stop now, the consequences for Mexican football could be devastating,” he added.
$1 = 0.9214 Swiss francs Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris