Fifa fines for homophobia ‘not enough’, says anti-discrimination chief

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Fifa needs to increase the severity of its punishments for homophobic chants by fans, says the chief of Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare).

Fifa released its sanctions on Monday, with six central and South American teams fined for homophobic abuse.

“It’s fine after fine, but harsher punishments are needed,” said Piara Powar, whose organisation is tasked by Fifa to monitor discrimination.

The world governing body said sanctions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Fifa can disqualify a team from competition for a serious offence, but it predominantly issues fines to nations whose fans are guilty of homophobic chanting.

Seven nations were punished for the offence in the latest round of sanctions following incidents that took place at the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Argentina were fined 75,000 Swiss francs (£58,127) for two incidents, while Chile were fined 35,000 Swiss francs (£27,000) having been punished for homophobic chanting on eight previous occasions during the past two years. Chile had also received a stadium ban during that period.

The other countries disciplined by Fifa include Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico and Panama, while European side Hungary were fined for alleged homophobic chanting that occurred during September’s match at home to Portugal.

Five European sides, including world champions Germany, were fined for discriminatory behaviour by their supporters.

Fifa disciplinary code 2017 – discrimination by supporters
Where supporters of a team are found guilty of discriminatory or denigratory words or actions at a match, a fine of at least CHF 30,000 shall be imposed on the association or club concerned regardless of the question of culpable conduct or culpable oversight.
Serious offences may be punished with additional sanctions, in particular an order to play a match behind closed doors, the forfeit of a match, apoints deduction or disqualification from the competition.

In 2015, Fare was tasked by Fifa to monitor and report on discrimination during the World Cup qualifiers.

Powar, who suggested more stadium bans and mandatory education programmes, added: “If you look at Fifa’s disciplinary code it doesn’t specifically mention homophobic chants. Those regulations need to change.

“We continue to have conversations with Fifa and will meet them again to discuss the issues next year.”

We are determined to tackle homophobia – Concacaf

BBC Sport asked world football’s governing body what more it could do to prevent a repeat of these incidents and whether it could deliver stronger punishments.

Fifa responded with this statement: “Sanctions are decided on a case-by-case basis by the disciplinary committee in accordance with the Fifa disciplinary code.

“The disciplinary committee takes decisions after analysing all of the specific circumstances of each case, in particular, the position adopted by the association (if applicable) as well as the anti-discrimination match observer’s report and the relevant evidence available.

“Mitigating circumstances can also be taken into account in some cases, including the member associations’ efforts to raise awareness among spectators and fight discrimination. The committee has absolute discretion regarding the evaluation of proof.”

Last year Mexico’s national team attempted to raise awareness by launching an anti-homophobia campaign, which was fronted by high-profile players such as West Ham striker Javier Hernandez. The country has now been fined nine times for homophobic chanting during this World Cup qualifying campaign.

BBC Sport asked Concacaf, the confederation for North, Central American and Caribbean teams, for a response to the punishments meted out to Panama and repeat offenders Mexico.

A spokesperson said: “Concacaf continues to work with its member associations to actively discourage the use of homophobic chants and other discriminatory behaviour in all stadiums in the region.

“While progress has undoubtedly been made on fan education, this is an issue that Concacaf and its members, including Panama and Mexico, are determined to continue to tackle until such behaviours are no longer present in the region.”

BBC Sport has also contacted South American confederation Conmebol.