Citing recent code of conduct violations, Chicago Fire closed the seating section for supporters group Sector Latino at Toyota Park.
For its June 9 home match, the Fire closed off section 101–the long-time home of Sector Latino. The supporters group has been known over the years for backing the Fire with Latin American-style chants, but its role as a fixture at Toyota Park was put into question after recent incidents.
According to the Fire, Sector Latino violated the Fan Code of Conduct through several acts of violence, including an incident in which members of the group were arrested following a fight with Houston Dynamo supporters on May 20. In the most recent violation, a smoke bomb was lit in section 101 during a home match on June 2. After closing it for Saturday’s game, the Fire cancelled section 101 tickets and issued refunds to those who had admission in the area (which included some non-Sector Latino members).
Sector Latino can appeal the Fire’s decision. More from The Chicago Tribune:
While the continuity of the existence of the Sector Latino is not certain, the group has the ability to appeal the Club’s decision by June 13. If it does decide to appeal, a meeting will be set up between the Club and Sector Latino before their next home game on June 30.
“We’ll see what the Fire shows us and we’ll try to help the best we can to solve this and be able to attend games,” said [Sector Latino leader Roberto] Diaz.
“We are not criminals. We are supporters. We all take our families and our mission is not violence. I trust that everything can be solved to show the team and the players our support.”
Diaz is confident in clarifying the problem and reach an understanding with the club to show them they are not a violent group.
According to the Tribune, Sector Latino consists of approximately 200 registered Fire season ticket holders.
This is not the first time this season an MLS team has suspended privileges for a supporter group. Orlando City suspended organized supporter groups’ privileges of Atlanta United FC for the next three matches between the clubs at Orlando City Stadium. The team also banned 38 of its own fans for their conduct at the match.
Image courtesy Chicago Fire.