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Orlando City suspends Atlanta United FC supporter groups’ privileges for three games

Orlando City SC forward Stefano Pinho (29) is tackled by Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz (18) during the second half of the game at Orlando City Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City announced it is suspending Atlanta United FC supporter groups’ privileges for the next three games, noting the Atlanta club failed to help it identify United fans who tossed trash onto the Lions’ home field during a recent match.

The Lions’ news released stated the suspension was “a result of unaddressed misconduct from members of the traveling Atlanta United supporter groups following the May 13 match at Orlando City Stadium.”

During its investigation into extensive debris tossed onto the pitch during the Lions’ May 13 loss to Atlanta United at Orlando City Stadium, the club searched stadium video to identify fans violating club and MLS conduct policies. Orlando City stated it gave Atlanta United FC video footage and images of five of its fans throwing objects during the match.

“Atlanta United failed to respond with the names of the offenders or ask for an extension within the appropriate window of time,” the Orlando City news release stated.

MLS organized supporter groups’ privileges include purchasing seats in a designated supporters’ section with escorts to the match, entering Orlando City Stadium before general admission gates open and bringing flags or banners into the stadium.

Orlando City previously announced it suspended 38 fans it determined were involved in tossing trash onto the field during the Lions’ loss. The fans were seated throughout the stadium and were not limited to supporter sections. The club contacted the fans suspended for one to two years and provided them with information on how to potentially regain stadium access.

Club officials said on May 21 that more fans could still be suspended as they continued to review of the game.

This is not the first time supporter groups’ privileges have been revoked during the heated Atlanta United-Orlando City rivalry.

Orlando City sent notices to its supporter groups’ presidents they were suspended from the four ensuing Atlanta United matches after conducting an investigation with MLS in observance of the league’s Incident Response Policy. There were multiple complaints about Orlando supporters’ behavior during and after Orlando City’s match in Atlanta on July 29, 2017. Three Orlando City fans also were arrested after the game, which ended in a 1-1- draw.

A similar incident occurred earlier in 2017 when NYCFC fans traveled to Orlando City Stadium for the season opener and ripped out one of the purple seats.

Three NYCFC fans were arrested for fighting in the street after an Orlando City home game during the 2017 season and one fan struck an Orange County deputy. That fan was banned from all MLS matches indefinitely.

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