Mexico will receive Costa Rica and Panama without an audience

ZÚRICH, Switzerland (AP) – Mexico will have to play without an audience in its next two home games of the World Cup qualifying rounds, against Costa Rica and Panama, in punishment for the insistent chants against gays that emerge from the stands, according to ordered FIFA on Monday.

The Mexican Soccer Federation was also fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($ 110,000) for “discriminatory behavior by fans.”

This is one of many punishments in the framework of a campaign to end homophobic insults to players of the rival team.

Mexico will face Costa Rica on January 30 and Panama on February 2 in empty stadiums, which will generate large revenue losses for the Mexican federation.

There were homophobic chants in last month’s games against Canada and Honduras at the Azteca Stadium. More than 130,000 fans in total witnessed those matches.

Azteca was empty in Mexico’s debut in the playoffs, in September, when they received Jamaica, for another FIFA punishment for the same reason.

Mexico, which leads the octagonal of CONCACAF towards Qatar 2022, also has a home game pending against the United States, on March 24.

Mexico’s next three games in the playoffs will be on the road. They will face the United States and Canada on November 12 and 16, respectively. They will meet Jamaica on January 27.

Previously, FIFA had also sanctioned Panama and El Salvador for the behavior of their fans.

Panama will have to face El Salvador without an audience in its Rommel Fernández stadium, on November 16, due to homophobic expressions from its fans during the games against Costa Rica and Mexico in September.

The Salvadorans were fined 12,500 for throwing projectiles onto the field and using lasers during last month’s game against Mexico at the Cuscatlán stadium, where the visitors won 2-0.

The first three of the CONCACAF qualifiers advance directly to Qatar and the fourth will play an intercontinental playoff.

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