Mexico coach defends World Cup fans’ gay slurs

BY Margaret Myers  June 20, 2014 at 2:15 PM EST
Fans have come under fire for using racial and homophobic slurs at the World Cup in Brazil. Mexico fans, seen here at the Estadio Castelao on Thursday in Fortaleza, are being investigated for the use of the chant, "puto," which means male prostitute. Photo by Alex LiveseyFIFA via Getty Images

Fans have come under fire for using racial and homophobic slurs at the World Cup in Brazil. Mexico fans, seen here at the Estadio Castelao on Thursday in Fortaleza, are being investigated for the use of the chant, “puto,” which means male prostitute. Photo by Alex LiveseyFIFA via Getty Images

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera has defended his country’s World Cup fans for what FIFA officials have called “improper conduct” for the use of a homophobic chant.

Herrera defends the chant, “puto,” which translates from Spanish to “male prostitute.”

“We’re with our fans. It’s something they do to pressure the opposing goalkeeper,” Herrera was quoted by the Associated Press on Friday.

The Fare network, a U.K. group that monitors inequality and discrimination in soccer, reported the offensive slurs to FIFA after Mexico’s 1-0 win over Cameroon in Natal, Brazil, on June 13. The Telegraph reports that Fare has also cited Brazil’s fans for using the same chant.

FIFA has since opened disciplinary proceedings against Mexico.

Russia and Croatia fans similarly face action for waving “neo-Nazi” banners during their teams’ World Cup games.