June 23 – The disciplinary fall-out from the Concacaf Nations League first semi-final between Mexico and the USA that saw multiple player confrontations and four players sent off has been announced, but there has been no specific mention of a sanction over the Mexican fans’ ‘puta’ chant.
The immediate effect of the Disciplinary Committee sanction is that neither of Mexico’s Cesar Montes (three match ban) or Gerardo Arteaga (two match ban) will be available for the opening round of the Gold Cup – both already automatically missed Mexico’s third place play-off win over Panama.
Montes and Arteaga have both been selected for the Gold Club rosters. The three match ban for Montes will see him miss all three group games. Mexico kick off their campaign against Honduras in Houston on Sunday night against Honduras.
For the US players the ban is meaningless as they had both been released from the somewhat controversial selection of the US roster for the Gold Cup.
As well as banning the players, Concacaf has “has imposed an undisclosed fine” on both the Mexican and US federations with the warning of “more severe sanctions” if further incidents occur during the Gold Cup.
The elephant in the Disciplinary Committee room is the lack of mention of sanction over the Mexican fans’ use of the ‘puta’ chant that invoked the first step of the anti-discrimination protocol and the halting of the match while anti-discrimination messages were broadcast.
At that stage the match had already reached boiling point with the US 3-0 up and the fans whipped into a frenzy by the confrontations of the players of the pitch.
The match was stopped with four minutes of added time still to play but the Mexican fans were clearly using the chant to bring an end to the game early.
The officials were in a no-win position. Concacaf are also in a tricky position. If the Mexican fans refuse to back down, something that they have so far refused to do, and they start to use the chant as a match changing weapon, then ultimately the next set of sanctions will be more closed stadia though at this stage more likely to be points losses and/or expulsion from championships.
It is a fragile and fluid situation. The first test will come on Sunday night in Houston.
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