LGBTI athletes at the Rio Olympics are being personally targeted with homophobic chants from the crowds.
Megan Rapinoe, one of the gay stars from the US soccer team, has said she has heard chanting of ‘bicha’ – a Portuguese word similar to ‘faggot’ – from the audience during her matches.
Other reports have reported hearing ‘puta’, another homophobic Portuguese term’, as well as ‘Zika’, referring to the virus.
This is the latest in many reports over the safety of athletes during the Olympics, with one suggesting if someone swallows three teaspoons of water it could be enough to be infected with a virus.
‘It is personally hurtful,’ Rapinoe told the LA Times. ‘I think a sort of a mob mentality kind of takes over.’
Chants have also been heard during the Australia-Canada match, in which at least four players identify as LGBTI.
Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who is out, said she didn’t want to address the comment because she doesn’t know the ‘history behind it’.
FIFA said they will not tackle the comments unless a team launches a formal complaint.
“I don’t think that all Brazilians fans or everyone that was there last night is homophobic,” Rapinoe added.
‘But I think that they are complicit in it as long as they’re doing it. FIFA can crack down as much as they want but it’s up to individuals in the stands to not participate in that kind of behavior.’