FIFA reduces Mexico ban for anti-gay chant to 1 match; WCQ vs. Jamaica on Sept. 2 to be played without fans

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) has announced a reduction to FIFA's original two-match ban for anti-gay chants heard at Olympic qualifying matches last March.

A statement released by the FMF explained that due to the organization's "efforts toward eradicating discrimination at matches," FIFA decided to diminish the initial penalty.

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"The Appeals Committee at FIFA has resolved that the sanction imposed by the Disciplinary Committee for two games without fans be reduced to one game. Said sanction must be enforced at the next official home match for any men's age category," the document read.

Mexico will enforce the ban on Sept. 2, when the senior men's team faces Jamaica, kicking off its World Cup qualifying campaign at the Estadio Azteca.

El Tri's second home qualifier is scheduled for Oct. 7 against Canada, a match currently set to feature fans in stands unless more penalties are handed down for incidents involving Mexico fans at the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup earlier this year.

"We will be respectful [of any punishment handed down]," FMF president Yon De Luisa said at a news conference on Tuesday, before the revised ban was announced.

Prior to FIFA's reduction, it was expected that Mexico would divide its two-match punishment between the senior men's team and its senior women's team, due to a loophole in the original wording of the statement announcing the sanctions.

In July, De Luisa announced the FMF had appealed the original ban, citing the implementation of a media campaign designed to educate fans and attempt to eradicate the anti-gay chant present at most Mexico men's national team matches.

De Luisa also confirmed he had asked FIFA to confirm whether the ban would only apply to men's matches.

"We hope it only affects the men's teams," De Luisa had said in July. "We hope the women's team matches in September and October are not affected [by the ban]."

The ban remains the heaviest punishment doled out by FIFA in response to Mexico's repeated infringement of discriminatory conduct from fans in stands.

Previously, the FMF had only been fined over the offending chant, paying more than $227,000 for 15 separate admonishments.

Repeated infringement remains a cause for concern, as FIFA's disciplinary code states that a federation could face expulsion from any official competition - including the World Cup - for a failure to contain discriminatory behaviors.

Though Mexico will comply with the most recent punishment in its match against Jamaica, it is still likely more consequences have yet to be announced for offenses that are more recent.

In the CONCACAF Nations League semifinal and final games held in June against Costa Rica and the United States, respectively, referees followed the anti-discrimination protocol enacted by FIFA and CONCACAF by temporarily stopping both matches in response to the chant being heard.

Later that summer, at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, multiple games involving El Tri had the same issue. The FMF and FIFA have confirmed disciplinary action for those incidents can still be upcoming.