FIFA to investigate fan behaviour at World Cup

Teams could face disciplinary measures over spectators’ actions

FIFA, the international governing body of football, is investigating incidents of discriminatory chanting by Mexican and Brazilian fans during the June 17 World Cup match between the two countries. The football body is also expected to look into the behaviour of Croatian and Russian fans, who reportedly unfurled neo-Nazi banners.

Those countries’ teams could face disciplinary measures, ranging from warnings to point deductions.

During the game between Mexico and Brazil, spectators could be heard chanting the word puto, which can be variously translated as “man-whore,” “fag” or “coward.” Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), a network that monitors spectators’ behaviour, reported the chanting to FIFA, in addition to the banners displayed by Russian and Croatian fans, Outsport reports. The network’s executive director, Piara Powar, lamented that some fans see fit to “take their hatred halfway around the world” and called for urgent action to be taken.

“There is some rapid education required before it begins to run out of control,” Powar said, adding that “zero tolerance is the approach set out; it is what is required here.”

News of the investigation comes in the wake of outgoing United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’s recent call for gay World Cup players to come out “without fear” to help gays and lesbians become more accepted around the world.

She said it’s “a shame in this day and age” that people still have to hide who they are. “There’s an increasing realization that combatting discrimination requires more than superficial measures that do not change attitudes or address the root causes of inequality,” Pillay told media in Geneva.

Natasha Barsotti is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She had high aspirations of representing her country in Olympic Games sprint events, but after a while the firing of the starting gun proved too much for her nerves. So she went off to university instead. Her first professional love has always been journalism. After pursuing a Master of Journalism at UBC , she began freelancing at Xtra West — now Xtra Vancouver — in 2006, becoming a full-time reporter there in 2008.

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