MLS, Fan Groups Have Productive Meeting On Conduct Policy
Officials from MLS, the Independent Supporters Council and supporters groups of the Timbers and Sounders met for "more than three hours on Thursday in Las Vegas" regarding the league's Fan Code of Conduct policy, and agreed to "continue talks on Tuesday," according to Paul Kennedy of SOCCER AMERICA. The meeting was called in an effort to resolve an ongoing dispute over the "ban on the display of Iron Front flags or banners" at MLS games. The supporters "want MLS to work with international experts on human rights to craft language in the Fan Code of Conduct that reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination." MLS President & Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott described the meeting as "productive" and called it an "honest and open conversation." MLS proposed an "evaluation of the treatment of the Iron Front flag" for the remainder of the '19 season and a "broader evaluation of the Fan Code of Conduct" (SOCCERAMERICA.com, 9/20). Timbers Owner & CEO Merritt Paulson "praised the efforts of the two sides." He said, "We have always been advocates for soccer supporters uniquely having a right to exercise their voice on matters of human rights at games" (AP, 9/19). ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle noted for matches this weekend, the supporters groups "asked MLS if they could 'press pause' on enforcement, but MLS confirmed that for now, the policy banning the Iron Front flag remains in place" (ESPN.com, 9/19).