Mexico to play in empty stadium for 2 World Cup qualifiers

National News

A Mexico fan cheers prior to the team’s CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A soccer match against Trinidad and Tobago in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, July 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

ZURICH (AP) — Mexico will have to play in an empty stadium for its next two home games in World Cup qualifying because of persistent anti-gay chants by fans.

Mexico will host Costa Rica on Jan. 30 and Panama on Feb. 2.

The empty stadium will cost the Mexican soccer federation millions of dollars in lost revenue.

FIFA says the federation has also been fined $110,000. There’s been a long-standing campaign to stop fans from directing slurs at opposing players.

The anti-gay chants were heard last month when Mexico hosted qualifiers against Canada and Honduras.

The Azteca Stadium drew a combined attendance about 130,000 fans for those games.

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