LAFC and The 3252 Independent Supporters Union are once again teaming up to ensure an inclusive, welcoming and safe experience for all fans at LAFC home games in 2020.
Since 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. Beginning last season and continuing in 2020, LAFC has taken a number of steps to make it clear the offensive goal kick chant is never tolerated at Banc of California Stadium. With LAFC returning to action Feb. 27 in the CONCACAF Champions League and in their MLS home opener on March 1, 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.
LAFC also created a video message to fans that will be played in-arena before and during matches.
“We were extremely proud of all of our fans and Supporters throughout the 2019 season, as they held each other accountable and made sure that the chant was not heard at our stadium last season,” said LAFC President and Co-Owner Tom Penn and Jimmy Lopez, President of the 3252 in a joint statement. “We are committed to that goal in 2020, and we continue to be thankful to work together to ensure a safe, fun environment free of homophobia, transphobia, racism or sexism at our stadium. We believe that our continued heightened and educated security presence will help create an experience we can all be proud of.”
Once again, LAFC and the 3252 will deploy several strategies throughout the stadium, highlighted by a security presence with staff members trained and dedicated to exclusively dealing with this issue.
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 hosts Liga MX club Leon in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday, Feb. 27 and opens MLS regular season play on Sunday, March 1 against Inter Miami CF at 2:30 p.m. PT on ESPN.