MLS Earthquakes In Dispute With Fan Group Following Ban On Homemade Banners
A dispute between the MLS Earthquakes and a fan group has "escalated after management revoked the 1906 Ultras' rights to display banners at home games," according to Elliott Almond of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The fans who sit behind the north goal at Buck Shaw Stadium "were silent" in response during the Earthquakes' Saturday night home game against Chivas USA. The Ultras "usually sing, chant and pound drums for all 90 minutes of home games." But they "vow to remain silent until the team lifts the sanctions, including one issued Friday that indefinitely revoked the Ultras' rights to display homemade banners, known as tifa." At a time when the Earthquakes are "trying to build a strong fan base to help fill" their new 18,000-seat stadium, team management is "struggling with a minority of passionate supporters who bring a European flavor to games that's not seen in other U.S. sports leagues." The Ultras have an arrangement with the team to "sit together, unfurl banners and sing and chant." Aside from some "lewd chants, questionable banners and drunkenness, the Quakes have had few problems with their fans in the five-plus seasons since they have re-entered MLS." The current issue has been "building since the Ultras were placed on indefinite probation in April after a melee in Portland" before a game against the Timbers. Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said, "We don't want to be part of violence in any way" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/6).