Mexican players launch campaign against homophobia

Football Soccer - Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - German Bundesliga - BayArena , Leverkusen, 12/12/15 Bayer Leverkusen's Javier Hernandez celebrates 5-0 victory against Borussia Moenchengladbach with the Leverkusen mascot REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s national team has launched a campaign to discourage fans from shouting homophobic slurs during football matches.

Some of the players who will face Canada in a World Cup tie on Tuesday, including Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez and PSV Eindhoven’s Hector Moreno, read out a manifesto against abuse under the title “Embraced by Football.”

“To us, differences are no obstacle. To us, we don’t discriminate. To us, we respect everyone’s opinion,” the players said in a YouTube and social media campaign.

FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee ruled two years ago that there would be no punishment for Mexico’s FA after Mexican fans chanted the word “puto” -- or “faggot” in Spanish -- at opposition goalkeepers during the 2014 World Cup.

However, FIFA took a stronger stand this year and Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay, were fined by the governing body for homophobic chanting by fans during World Cup qualifiers.

Writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar