LAFC, The 3252 Independent Supporters Union and GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization are teaming up to ensure an inclusive, welcoming and safe experience for all fans at LAFC home games in 2019.
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. LAFC has taken a number of steps to make it clear the offensive goal kick chant will not be tolerated at Banc of California Stadium. Beginning with LAFC’s home opener on March 3, any fans identified as participating in offensive chanting or other prohibited acts will be removed from the stadium permanently and banned, and season members will have their membership revoked.
“Last season, we were disappointed and upset that the chant resurfaced at our stadium,” said LAFC President and Co-Owner Tom Penn and Jimmy Lopez, President of the 3252 in a joint statement. “We pledged at that time to take steps to eliminate the chant from our games, and we are thankful to work with GLAAD and our fans and Supporters to hold each other accountable. We believe that our more robust and educated security presence will help create an experience we can all be proud of.”
LAFC and the 3252 will deploy several strategies throughout the stadium in 2019, highlighted by an improved and heavier security presence with staff members trained and dedicated to exclusively dealing with this issue.
The goal is to ensure that everyone who attends a game will have a safe, fun experience free of homophobia, transphobia, racism or sexism.
In the video, a number of different players in different languages and the team’s head coach 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.”
“When fans attend a match, they should be met with a stadium that welcomes everyone and unites people to cheer for the LAFC, but whenever this chant occurred, LGBTQ and ally fans were made to feel less than,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “With this new campaign, the LAFC has raised the bar for inclusion and we hope that other teams nationwide and Major League Soccer will follow their lead by taking proactive steps to create safe and inclusive stadiums.”