Neo-Nazis, Blackface and Homophobia at the World Cup

By Aura Bogado Jun 23, 2014

We’re less than two weeks in to the World Cup and fans (and non-fans alike) have noticed slurs at the tournament. FIFA, which run the World Cup, says that it works to oppose discrimination–and it looks like they’ve got their hands full. National teams can face fines, lose points, and even be eliminated for their fans’ behavior, although none of that has happened yet. In fact, Mexico has just been cleared despite its fans’ use of a homophobic slur. But there are almost three weeks left in the tournament, so we’ll see what–if anything–happens as a consequence to racism and homophobia at the games.

Here’s some of what’s happened so far:

Mexico faced discipline for its fans screaming the homophobic word "puto" in the stands. The word means "whore," but carries an anti-gay connotation. NPR ran a story this morning about Mexican fans making excuses for the slur. And it seems FIFA is now convinced that that the homophobic slur is somehow not homophobic–and has cleared Mexico of improper conduct.

Instagram user selma_slim posted this image from the stadium when Germany played Ghana on Saturday:

Another image, which remains uncredited, also made rounds. It appears to be two German fans in blackface, likely outside of the stadium:

06-23-blackface-2.jpgAnd, as captured by Fusion in this GIF, French fans were spotted in blackface last week during a game with Uruguay. These fans were dressed in clothing that resembles that worn by Candomblé practitioners, a sacred Afro-Brazilian religion:


There are reports (but apparently no photos) that Russian and Croat fans were spotted with neo-Nazi banners at the games. Aside from that, an alleged Nazi sympathizer actually made his way to pitch during Saturday’s Germany-Ghana game. Security did nothing to stop him from parading around on the pitch until Ghana’s Sulley Muntari finally stopped him:


Spanish language announcers
If I wanted to watch soccer, I’d probably watch ESPN. But since I want to watch fútbol, I tune in to Univision. The problem with that is, as PRI reported, Univision announcers use discriminatory language during many of the games.