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Liga MX hands Atlas one-match ban for homophobic goalkeeper chant

Atlas will have to play their next home game against Tijuana behind closed doors.

Atlas v Puebla - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images

Atlas will have to play its Jan. 31 match against Xolos behind closed doors after Liga MX handed them the first one game ban for the infamous goalkeeper chant that was deemed homophobic by FIFA.

In the city where the chant was first born, Atlas became the first team to get sanctioned for it after its match against Puebla on Friday was stopped because of the chant. Referee Adonai Escobedo first warned the crowd and then stopped the match, but then in injury time and with their team trailing, Atlas fans started again with the chant and this time the ref finished the match. The ban was given on Monday by the league because of it.

Last season the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) had announced that they would start with punishments for the chant, which would include warnings and stopping matches for a few minutes. Should it continue, there would be one-game bans applied to the guilty team’s fans.

The FMF had previously made campaigns about the chant, especially with the national team, where it got FIFA’s attention. Those campaigns failed and the federation kept getting fined, but apparently FIFA got tired and announced warnings that Mexico will get points disallowed. All of this made the FMF give up on their campaign to try to convince FIFA that it was a “cultural” thing in Mexico and thus they pushed the punishment to Liga MX, a place where unlike with the national team, few actions had been taken.

So far in 2020, the only action taken was to a player, when Jesus Gallardo got suspended for saying the word in a celebration after winning last season’s Liga MX title with Monterrey.