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MLS' letter to Houston supporters groups

27 February 10:03 pm

MLS' letter to Houston supporters groups

By MLSsoccer staff

One of the hot topics around the soccersphere today was news of sanctions levied against supporters of the Houston Dynamo. Below is the letter sent from MLS to leaders of the Houston Dynamo supporters groups on Monday. According to MLS spokesperson Will Kuhns, this is not the first time that an MLS supporters group’s privileges have been suspended for behavior issues. In the letter, you will see that the incidents at issue occurred during road games, and that the sanctions apply only to road games.
 

Major League Soccer and its Clubs are committed to the growth of a vibrant and healthy environment in our stadiums.  We are focused on fostering a League-wide culture that embraces the passion of our core fans. That passion however, must be displayed in a responsible manner that is in accordance with the MLS Fan Code of Conduct.
 
This letter serves to address several violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct committed by Dynamo supporters at the following events:
1.     MLS Cup, Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center (November 20, 2011): Violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included
a.     multiple illegal smoke bombs were brought into the stadium, ignited and thrown onto the field
b.    various objects that presented a safety risk thrown onto the field in the direction of players and stadium personnel
c.     obscene language and gestures by multiple supporters
2.     Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park (November 6th, 2011): Violation of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included
a.     a prohibited smoke bomb that was brought into the stadium and ignited
3.     Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park (September 24, 2011): Violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included
a.     a prohibited smoke bomb that was brought into the stadium and ignited
 
As of March 1, Dynamo traveling supporters will not be permitted to utilize items listed as Supporter Group Exemptions in the MLS Prohibited Items policy (e.g. flags, banners, confetti, drums). This sanction shall continue to be in effect until otherwise notified by MLS; provided, however, that at a minimum it shall apply to the following games:
1.     Houston Dynamo vs. Chivas at the Home Depot Center (March 11, 2012)
2.     Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park (July 7, 2012)
 
The decision to impose this sanction is based on the League-wide position that misconduct at any MLS event can affect a fan’s standing at other MLS facilities. MLS will not tolerate behavior which threatens the safety of any fan, stadium employee or match participant. The actions of just a few individuals can influence the perception of all of our supporters, clubs and League.
 
After the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12, 2012, the League will evaluate whether to lift the ban on the previously stated privileges. The following factors will be considered in determining the ultimate length of this restriction:
 
1.     Supporter conduct at 2012 MLS away games
2.     Supporter conduct at BBVA Compass Stadium
3.     Implementation of a supporter charter
4.     Formation of an effective leadership system for all Dynamo supporters that is recognized by the club
 
The League is encouraged by the ongoing discussion between the Dynamo supporters and the front office to learn from past events and prevent them in the future. While regrettable that these incidents took place, it is our hope that 2012 marks the year that such misconduct is a thing of the past so that we can return to our focus of supporting the Texian Army, El Battallon, Brickwall Firm, La Bateria and any other legitimate group supporting the Dynamo.