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Bolivian FA demands FIFA sanctions for Chile after discriminatory chants

Chile's player tied 0-0 with Bolivia in a Russia 2018 World Cup football qualifier match in Santiago, on September 6, 2016. (Photo// CLAUDIO REYES/AFP/Getty Images)
by Fernando Numberg Zambrana, President CPDB

BOGOTA, September 12, 2016 - The Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) has submitted a complaint to FIFA regarding chants heard from Chile fans during the World Cup Qualifying match between Chile and Bolivia at Colo Colo Monumental Stadium on September 6.

The Bolivian Football Federation has described the chants from Chilean supporters as "inappropriate behavior sanctioned by sections 3 and 9 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code,” and has called on South America’s CONMEBOL and the world governing body to sanction the Chilean Football Federation.

President of FBF, Rolando Lopez announced the association’s decision to act at a press conference, "given that FIFA promotes gender equality and combating discrimination and racism, and in order to avoid the reoccurrence of such behavior on the sporting stage."

Chants such as “el que no salta no tiene mar” (Whoever isn’t jumping doesn’t have a sea), were regarded as offensive by Evo Morales the President of Bolivia, who in turn asked that the FBF and the Foreign Ministry take action against such behavior. The chant in question is in reference to Bolivia’s ongoing conflict with Chile for a maritime claim, which is currently being processed at the Hague Tribunal. As a result of having lost a war with China in 1879, Bolivia lost a good portion of its territory, which had access to the Pacific coast, to Chile, and their bilateral relations are at a low point.

Chile was punished for fan behavior last May, when the National Stadium in Santiago was suspended for two matches by FIFA for discriminatory fan chants. Chile’s national team was sering out the suspension in last Tuesday’s Qualifying match against Bolivia, played at the Monumental de Colo Colo Stadium.

Bolivian social networks exploded with protests during the match, since the chants of Chile fans contained other insults, including those directed at the player Jhasmany Campos, who was not among those called up for the match and who was watching the game from the grandstand next to the goalkeeper coach. The player came close to being attacked by Chilean fans, for giving the Bolivian delegation a hard time during the match.

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