LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Football Club will increase efforts to make it clear that an anti-gay slur that is sometimes shouted by soccer fans during goal kicks will not be tolerated at Banc of California Stadium during the 2022 season, which began Saturday when LAFC plays host to the Colorado Rapids.
The Major League Soccer team began efforts to combat the slur one day after it was shouted in its first game at Banc of California Stadium on April 29, 2018, announcing that fans who shouted the slur would be ejected from the stadium and permanently banned, and season ticket holders would have their membership revoked, a policy which remains in effect.
LAFC has exercised the ejection policy, the team's vice president of communications, Seth Burton, told City News Service. Burton declined to specify how many people have been removed.
The team and its main supporters group, The 3252 Independent Supporters Union, 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, team officials said.
LAFC also updated its fan code of conduct video, reinforcing its mission to provide an inclusive environment for all and the zero tolerance policy for hurtful language. The video will be played in-stadium before and during all home games.
This video features players in different languages offering 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, its LGBTQ+ Supporters Group, The Pride Republic, The 3252 and the Los Angeles LGBT Center have worked together to respond to the slur, with the goal of ensuring that everyone attending 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."
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