Mexico City: The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) and Liga MX have announced a series of measures designed to curb homophobic behaviour from fans.
Under the crackdown, referees in the country's top football division will be able to temporarily stop games if homophobic chants are heard. Referees may ask teams to return to the dressing rooms for up to 10 minutes if order is not restored, officials said on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.
However the move stops short of a FIFA edict in June that empowers referees to abandon matches in serious cases, an outcome that could lead to forfeits, points' deductions and even expulsion from competitions. The FIFA ruling will take effect for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The maximum penalty for Liga MX clubs will be a requirement to play future home matches behind closed doors.
"We're not in an emergency situation, but if we don't resolve it, we will have problems and we don't want that," Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla told a news conference. "That's why the Liga MX and FMF will work in a proactive way."
The new guidelines will be applied in the Liga MX on October 25 following a series of activities to educate clubs and their supporters, Bonilla said.