LAFC, The Pride Republic, The 3252 Independent Supporters Union and the Los Angeles LGBT Center are teaming up again to increase efforts to ensure an inclusive, welcoming and safe experience for all fans at LAFC home games in 2022.
The groups have worked together to respond to an anti-gay slur that is sometimes shouted by soccer fans during goal kicks at stadiums throughout the world. Throughout its history, LAFC has taken a number of steps to eradicate the chant from the Stadium and, as the 2022 season is set to kick off, is increasing efforts to make it clear that the offensive goal kick chant will not be tolerated at Banc of California Stadium.
“The vision and mission for LAFC has always been to create a Club where every member of our community feels welcome,” said LAFC Co-President and CBO Larry Freedman. “Since the Club’s inception, we worked to create an inclusive environment, and will continue to take the steps necessary to eliminate the chant from our stadium. We believe these new measures will help eliminate negative and hateful language during matches and together with the efforts of the Pride Republic and The 3252 and support of community organizations like the Los Angeles LGBT Center, will help ensure the fan experience in our stadium makes everyone feel they belong and are welcome.”
LAFC and The 3252 will deploy several strategies throughout the stadium in 2022, highlighted by an increased security presence with staff members trained and dedicated to exclusively deal with this issue. Any fans identified as participating in offensive chanting or other prohibited acts will be removed from the stadium and permanently banned, and season members will have their membership revoked.
“The Los Angeles LGBT Center applauds LAFC’s efforts to make all of its home games a more welcoming experience for all spectators,” said Director of Policy and Community Building Joey Espinoza-Hernández. “For several years, local soccer fans have turned to the Center to express their deep concerns and fears of hearing anti-LGBTQ slurs chanted callously at opposing teams in various venues, and we are heartened to know that positive change is in store this season. Cheering for our favorite teams should be a joyful and raucous occasion for all.”
LAFC also updated its fan code of conduct video, reinforcing the Club’s mission to provide an inclusive environment for all and the zero tolerance policy for hurtful language. This video will be played in-stadium before and during all home matches.
“When Banc of California Stadium opened, we were told that 'Everybody belongs in LA,’” said Paul Ruiz, Co-Founder of the Pride Republic Supporters Group. “We live and breathe this in Pride Republic. 'Everybody' means the teenager attending the game with her family, the boy sitting with his dad and uncles in the South End, the new couple coming to their first game. When they hear 'the chant,' they don't feel like they belong. Let's stand 'Shoulder to Shoulder' all the time. Don't do 'the chant.' It causes real harm. Instead, use your voice to support this great Club and city, and sing loud and proud with the 3252!”
The goal of LAFC, the Pride Republic, the 3252 and the Los Angeles LGBT Center is to ensure that everyone who attends a game will have a safe, fun experience free of homophobia, transphobia, racism or sexism.
“The 3252 believes that all should feel welcome, safe and included while enjoying the world's game,” said KC Garcia, President of the 3252 Independent Supporters Union. “The chant discriminates against members of our community and goes against the morals and ideals we pride ourselves on. That chant has no place in our stadium.”
In the video, a number of different players in different languages offer a message that reads, in part, “Our club is for everyone. Stand with us, shoulder to shoulder, to create the best atmosphere in MLS. Stop the hateful chant during goal kicks. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and discrimination will not be tolerated in our stadium. Together, let’s win in the stands.”
LAFC will open regular season play on Saturday, Feb. 26, against the Colorado Rapids at 12:30 p.m. PT on Univision and TUDN, before taking on the Portland Timbers Sunday, March 6, at 7 p.m. PT on FS1 and Fox Deportes.
A limited number of 2022 Season Memberships and single match tickets are still available. For more information, visit lafc.com/tickets.