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Fines Issued As Some World Cup Fans Heap Abuse On Women, Gays, Minorities

Players are shown in a match between the Colombian and Japanese soccer teams at the World Cup.
Players are shown in a match between the Colombian and Japanese soccer teams at the World Cup.

The soccer teams of Mexico and Serbia are the first to be hit by fines at the World Cup over offensive and discriminatory behavior by their fans amid a growing number of reported incidents of abuse targeting women, gays, and other minorities.

Soccer's world governing body, FIFA, said it hit the Serbian federation with a $10,400 fine on June 20 because its fans held up an "offensive and political" World War II-era banner at a team match with Costa Rica.

FIFA, which says it is using antidiscrimination experts to monitor behavior at the games being hosted by Russia, did not say what the banner said, but media reported it involved problems seen in past games with far-right Serbian nationalist fans.

Mexico's team was slapped with a similar fine for its fans' "discriminatory and insulting chants" using an antigay slur to describe German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

The antigay chant, using a Spanish slang word for a male sex worker, is popular among Latin American fans and led FIFA to fine several Latin soccer federations at World Cup qualifying games.

Mexican striker Javier Hernandez appealed to his country's fans to stop their offensive chants in a post on Instagram. "Let's not risk another sanction," he said.

Colombia's Foreign Ministry urged fans to be on their best behavior after a series of embarrassing incidents involving ruses to humiliate foreign women that drew outrage on social media.

Videos posted online showed Colombian, Mexican, and Brazilian fans asking Japanese and other foreign women fans to chant or say words in Spanish and Portuguese that are demeaning to women.

Such behavior "not only degrades the woman, but insults other cultures, our language, and our country," the Colombian ministry tweeted.

Leandro Cruz, Brazil's minister of sports, told journalists in Moscow that the men were "doing an immense disservice to Brazil."

Brazil's National Council of Women's Rights said that the behavior "is evidence of the reality of physical, verbal, psychological, and moral aggression that many women often face in Brazil and in the world."

One of the incidents posted in a video online involved Colombian fans smuggling alcohol into the stadium during a game -- something both FIFA and Russia have prohibited.

A couple of the men in the videos were identified by their employers and fired for their behavior, media reported.

"Co-nationals who are in Russia for the World Cup must respect the rules of the country that has opened its doors to them," the Colombian ministry said.

"They are obliged to abide by what is established by the local authorities and accept the consequences for breaking the rules."

More than 11,000 Colombians made the trip to Russia for the World Cup, and most are well-behaved, authorities said.

"But if you made that effort, do it respecting women, our opponents, and the laws of the host country," Colombian Football Federation President Ramon Jesurun said.

With reporting by dpa, AP, AFP, and Wide World of Sports
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