“P*TO”: A ‘misunderstood’ term and #FIFA’s worst nightmare

Warning: The following post has been created for pedagogical purposes and contains vulgar language. If you’re open minded and want to learn, continue reading this humble contribution. Otherwise, don’t continue but feel free to email me at Brenda@tradubeledi.com.


Many of you were au courant of this situation, but for those who didn’t know what happened, this post is for you. French news classified this event as “P*to: le chant de la discorde”, conservative Mexicans judged it, and Americans thought we were racist. Sounds funny, doesn’t it?

A few days ago, FIFA stated that they were planning to fine and penalize (by deducting earned goals and points) the Mexican Soccer Federation because Mexican soccer fans were using homophobic chant, slurs, and supposed racist remarks during the matches in Brazil. What did these chants contained? “¡EEEEEHHHH P*TOOOOOO!” FIFA also stated that, without any disciplinary action or penalization towards Mexico, this ”ritual” would become a tradition that would spread among other nations and would begin being roared in all stadiums.  Most Mexican soccer fans felt upset, as their use of said term has no homophobic intent in this situation.

I, as a Mexican translator and cultural blogger, have the duty of stating my point of view in a cultural perspective since many don’t understand Mexico’s idiosyncrasy:

  • The chants containing the word P*TO are used during Mexican matches (national, regional, local, or even international, like this case).
  • This P*TO chant started in Guadalajara in the early 2000s during an unsuccessful soccer match, ‘though other theories say it originated in a match where a hated soccer player was called a “traitor” due to his transfer to another soccer team.
  • This chant happens in every single Mexican stadium, where Mexicans from all ages, genres, and backgrounds join in to yell “puto” in unison with hundreds and thousands of other fans of “El Tri”.
  • Why is this chant used? Mexicans shout “puto” when the opposing goalkeeper takes a goal kick, when a referee does something unfair to one of the players, or when the opposing player physically attacks (whether intentionally or not) another one.
  • The word “puto” has several meanings and multiple connotations according to the situation and regional dialect.

I would love to make a diagram of the meaning of the word P*TO according to every country, but for now I will only focus on Mexico’s other meanings of said term, showing a few examples.

Womanizer (derogatory), man-wh*re, male prostitute (gigoló), f*ck*ng, damned, goddamned, dumb ass, freakin’, assh*le, jerk, d*ck, coward, pussy, chicken (derogatory).


“¡¿Dónde está el p*t* bolígrafo?!”

(“Where’s the f*ck*ng pen?!”)

“Que mal que tu novio ande de p*t*”

(“Too bad that your boyfriend is a man-wh*re”)

“P*t* el que se raje”

(“Whoever chickens out will be a dumbass/sissy”)


And now for the one you were waiting for:

“¡EHHHHHH P*TOOOOO!” (Soccer context)

A few suggestions for this one (well, rather say, a few ideas of what Mexican soccer fans really mean)… check it out:






FIFA cannot penalize or fine the MSF for something they are not doing directly, unless there’s a rant or attacks among participating soccer players. Meanwhile, nobody can control soccer fans’ cheers and expressions. Mexico coach Miguel Herrera stated that the chant is a way of “putting pressure to the opposing goalie into making a mistake”. And who’s doing it? THE FANS! Some Mexicans hate said term, and even celebrities like Diego Luna stated in EFE news agency that he disliked the term, adding that even if soccer is a reflection of what we are in many ways, we live in a prejudiced society.

Fortunately, given to the early intervention of certain cultural mediators, the FIFA finally decided to dismiss their “disciplinary proceedings”. It’s unstoppable nowadays. If it had been a homophobic slur in the soccer context, it would have been stopped since loooooong time ago. Don’t you think? So, as Mexican news anchor Joaquin López-Dóriga said, “puto has the meaning that one wishes to give it”.

The chant has become part of the culture and it’d hardly end by a fine or penalization. The best solution for this case is a cultural mediation based on analyzing said term, promoting idiomatic awareness, and educating the audience with peaceful clarifications and relevant information.

Hope you enjoyed my humble collaboration. Please feel free of sharing my post and posting your comments, questions, or opinions.

Have a wonderful weekend!

6 thoughts on ““P*TO”: A ‘misunderstood’ term and #FIFA’s worst nightmare

  1. I’d rather worry about the FIFA contradiction claiming to be a non-profitmaking org and then having that shameful amount of money in places like Switzerland or Luxembourg.
    Great post! (:

  2. Thanks so much for this analysis. It covers all bases, and this is the best explanation of the intricacies around this word and situation that I have read yet. Goes to show – sometimes what you really need in a given situation is a really good translator!

  3. Funny. I was pretty sure it meant “faggot.” But what do I know? I only grew up in a homophobic infested society, that to this date, rationalizes the use of PUTO (why not spell out the word?) by “context.” Saludos!

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