The final was stopped twice by referee Drew Fischer due to homophobic chanting.
CNN  — 

The CONCACAF Nations League final between the US men’s team and Mexico on Sunday was marred by “discriminatory chanting” from spectators at the AT&T Stadium in Texas, forcing the referee to twice stop the game.

Goals from Tyler Adams and Gio Reyna secured the US a 2-0 win and its third consecutive trophy, but referee Drew Fischer twice suspended the game after continued homophobic chants from sections of the 59,471 crowd.

The use of a homophobic slur was shouted most when US goalkeeper Matt Turner took a goal-kick in the latter stages of the match.

With the US already up 2-0, the first suspension came in the 88th minute and lasted for over four minutes. Players were brought into the center circle as stadium announcements urged the crowd to stop.

Then, in the sixth minute of stoppage time, the referee brought play to a halt again for over a minute.

“CONCACAF condemns the discriminatory chanting in the final minutes of the Nations League Final between Mexico and the United States men’s national teams,” the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football – one of FIFA’s six continental governing bodies – said in a statement after the match.

“Security staff in the stadium identified and ejected a significant number of fans, and the referee and match officials activated the FIFA protocol.”

Gianni Infantino, president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, said he was extremely disappointed to hear the chants.

“Discrimination, of any kind, has no place in football and no place in society, and I call on the relevant authorities to ensure that those responsible are held to account for their actions,” he said in a post on his Instagram story.

CNN has reached out to US Soccer and the Mexican Football Federation for comment about Sunday’s incident.

Tyler Adams, scorer of the first goal, lifts the trophy for the US.

It is not the first time that a CONCACAF Nations League match between these two sides has been suspended for homophobic chanting.

During last year’s semifinals, which the US won 3-0, the referee opted to end the game around four minutes early amid the discriminatory chants from the crowd.

FIFA has previously fined the Mexican Football Federation for homophobic chants made by the team’s fans.

The US and Mexico, along with Canada, are set to co-host the FIFA men’s World Cup in 2026.

“It is extremely disappointing that this matter continues to be an issue at some matches, particularly in the context of the next two years presenting such a tremendous opportunity to grow the sport in our region,” Concacaf added in its statement.

“We will continue to urge fans to support their teams positively and with respect for the opposition and all participants in the game.”

FIFA has a three-step protocol to deal with abuse. After a referee is informed of any abuse, if it continues he should withdraw teams from the field of play temporarily. Then if the abuse continues the match is abandoned.


Piara Powar, executive director of FARE Network – an umbrella organization fighting to combat inequality in football – told CNN Sport that the use of this homophobic slur in chants was a “crisis” that needed to be tackled before the World Cup began.

He said that Sunday’s game was the 21st incident involving fans of the Mexico men’s team in the past five years.

“This is a long established pattern. It’s to do with a cultural hangover, if you like, around Mexican football that has now spread to the entirety of Latin American football,” Powar told CNN’s Amanda Davies.

“It’s an urgent problem that needs to be dealt with before we get to the World Cup.”

On the pitch, the US was made to work hard for its win but produced moments of quality to secure the title.

Adams opened the scoring with a rocket of a shot moments before half-time, before Reyna doubled the lead with a smart finish in the 63rd minute.