(Las Vegas) Mexico’s soccer team could face sanctions after fans sang a homophobic chant during the Concacaf Nations League semi-final against the United States in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Fans shouted “puto” – a homophobic slur – when USA goalkeeper Matt Turner cleared the ball and the game was briefly stopped while warnings were given to fans.

At the end of a stormy meeting won 3-0 by the United States, two players from each of the two teams were sent off. Objects and drinks were also thrown onto the pitch by the crowd, which overwhelmingly supported Mexico. Laser pointers were also aimed at Turner and other American players.

The slur “puto” means “male prostitute”, but in Mexico it roughly translates to “queer” and is widely used to insult a person’s masculinity.

The chant has long been a problem for the Mexican Football Federation, which has been repeatedly fined and has urged fans to end the practice. Concacaf issued a statement after the match, explaining that it “strongly condemned” what it called “discriminatory chanting”.

“The chants heard during the game led to the activation of the anti-discrimination protocol by the match officials. In addition, security personnel expelled several fans for unacceptable behavior in the stadium,” said the confederation that governs football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

“These incidents were extremely disappointing and tarnished what should have been a positive opportunity to showcase high quality football in our region,” the statement added.

The multiple fines imposed on Mexico amount to more than $650,000 and the country was forced to play at home without its fans against Jamaica in September 2021.

The Mexican Federation has implemented a system of online ticket registration and QR codes for spectators of its home games to identify and ban any violators and deter the use of chanting.

Mexico will co-host the 2026 World Cup with the United States and Canada. Last year, Yon de Luisa, then president of the federation, warned that organizing rights risked being lost because of this homophobic chanting.