Corinthians’ fans banned for slurs in Brazil first

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Brazil’s top sports court has ordered Corinthians to close their doors to spectators for one game after anti-gay chants were heard from their fanbase.

The sanction on Thursday was the first applied against a team in one of the country’s top divisions.

The incident took place on May 14 at NeoQuimica Arena where Corinthians drew with Sao Paulo 1-1 in the Brazilian championship. Thousands of home fans used slurs against Sao Paulo but none were identified by the club. Corinthians cannot appeal the decision.

“Eight out of nine members [of the court] voted for the historic punishment,” the sports court said in a statement. “It is the first sentence of this kind since the implementation of the new regulations, which this year brought harsher punishments for cases of racism and prejudice.”

Referee Bruno Arleu de Araújo stopped the match in the 62nd minute due to the chants, which have been sung in Brazilian stadiums for decades, and resumed four minutes later.

Corinthians urged fans on the stadium speakers and video screens to stop the chants, but that was not considered enough by the sports court.

Court member Mauricio Neves Fonseca said forcing Corinthians to close their gates was a better punishment because the Sao Paulo-based club was already fined last year for a similar incident.

“Discriminatory provocations must end in soccer. Society has changed,” Fonseca said. “Last year they sang the same thing. And at that time, the referee also had to stop the match.”

Corinthians will play without fans on July 29 in a Brazilian championship match against Vasco da Gama.

Corinthians are 16th in the Brazilian championship, near the relegation zone after 13 matches.

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