In a bid to rid the 2018 World Cup of homophobic slurs, Fifa claimed yesterday that it will get tough with Latin American fans in Russia.
Fifa has ordered tighter monitoring of offensive incidents at Confederations Cup matches which kick off today, and wants referees to stop play if fans persist.
Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura said that curbing problems now is “exactly the whole purpose” of anti-discrimination work at the World Cup rehearsal tournament.
“Fans [must] understand that they will be jeopardising the game by refusing systematically to respect fair play,” Samoura said.
Confederations Cup teams Chile and Mexico have been sanctioned by Fifa a combined 17 times for fans’ homophobic chants in the current World Cup qualifying programme.
Chants aimed at opposing goalkeepers are rife in South and Central American football.
Chile’s football federation has been fined a total of $210,000 (£164,000) and prevented from playing four games at its national stadium in Santiago. The Copa America champion plays Cameroon tomorrow in Moscow
Mexico’s federation has been fined $120,000 (£98,000). The Gold Cup winner plays Portugal tomorrow in Kazan.
Samoura said pre-match announcements in the four Confederations Cup stadiums can start a process that ultimately allows referees to abandon games.
“If sanctions and education do not work then we have to take it further,” said the Fifa official, who said it has prepared an anti-racism message from Diego Maradona to be revealed today.