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Orlando City SC suspends 38 fans in wake of trash-throwing incident

LIVE: Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão and VP of Gameday Operations Alex Wolf address new stadium policies after fans threw trash on the field during Orlando City’s match against Atlanta United.

Posted by Orlando Sentinel on Monday, May 21, 2018

 

Orlando City SC on Monday announced suspensions for 38 fans who were involved in an incident that included trash being thrown on the pitch during the Lions’ May 13 rivalry match against Atlanta United.

Club CEO Alex Leitão, flanked by Vice President of Gameday Operations Alex Wolf, announced changes coming to Orlando City Stadium. The changes will take time to implement, but they include:

  1. If a fan throws an object on the field, a PA announcer will make an immediate statement regarding the ramifications of throwing things on the field. A graphic will also be displayed on the video board.
  2. A fan code of conduct video involving players is being created.
  3. The stadium will transition to an all-pour venue. Every drink will be poured into a cup without a lid. No beer bottles or cans can be distributed in the stadium. Cans will still be available in suites, but can’t leave the suites.
  4. More cameras will be installed in the inner bowl of the stadium to ensure 360-degree views at all times.

“The field is our holy ground,” Wolf said. “It’s a sanctuary here. Let’s respect it. Keep the passion, but let’s not disrespect the field.”

The 38 fans came from all around the stadium and will be informed by mail of their suspensions, Wolf said. He added the club will know when the fans who were suspended receive their notifications. Those who are suspended will be notified how they can eventually regain access to the stadium. 

Leitão said the club is “100 percent sure” which fans are being suspended. 

Wolf said the suspensions will range from one to two years. The new measures will take some time, especially implementing new cameras. Wolf declined the comment on how many cameras are currently in the stadium and how many cameras will be purchased. 

Leitão said it will take “a couple of games” to fully implement all of the measures. MLS did not have a hand in creating these new measures, Leitão said. Everything that will be implement is a “club decision.” 

“We’re going to implement them at the right time,” Wolf said. “Some of these improvements require more coordination between ourselves and third parities. The PA announcements can happen this weekend. Going all-pour, adding cameras, those take a little more time so we can make sure this gets implemented successfully.” 

Wolf said the club is still reviewing video and more people could be identified. 

Before outlining the changes to the stadium, Leitão took responsibility for the incident.

“Let me start by saying, I take responsibility for what happened here in our game, last home game against Atlanta,” Leitão said, adding the club didn’t give trash-throwing incidents the awareness they deserved after previous incidents.

“It’s not acceptable. I was very, very sad, at the minimum, to see our stadium turning into a trash can.”

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