Play was halted in Denver Thursday night in the CONCACAF Nations League Semifinal between the Mexico and Costa Rica national teams following homophobic chants from supporters.
Late in the 5-4 penalty shootout win for Mexico at Empower Field at Mile High, a popular discriminatory chant broke out near the end of regulation in the scoreless match. That prompted a three-minute stop to play and several ejections of fans. Several fans said they had heard the chant multiple times throughout the match before officials acted.
New FIFA guidelines involve a three-step process for discriminatory behavior. At the first offense, officials are to stop the match and request a public-service announcement calling on spectators to cease these acts. If it continues, the match may be halted again and the players could be sent to their locker rooms. If play is halted a third time, officials are instructed to abandon the match.
“Due to discriminatory chanting, the referee has stopped the match for up to three minutes,” a CONCACAF tweet read Thursday night. “This action is part of CONCACAF’s antidiscrimination protocol.”
CONCACAF also tweeted that stadium security “ejected several fans for discriminatory language after warnings were made on the PA system.”
Mexican Football Federation president Yon de Luisa said last week that the national team’s players are critical to stopping the anti-gay chants during El Tri’s matches. These issues have happened on the international level and domestically in Liga MX.
Mexico will take on the United States men’s national team on Sunday after the Americans beat Honduras 1-0 on an 89th-minute goal. Empower Field hosts the Nations League Final, with kickoff scheduled at 7 p.m.
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