Los Angeles Football Club & GLAAD Partner to Ensure Safety for All Fans During LAFC Soccer Matches; New Video Calls Out Anti-LGBTQ Slurs

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) announced in a statement on Sunday that it is teaming up with The 3252 Independent Supporters Union and GLAAD to ensure an inclusive, welcoming and safe experience for all fans at LAFC home games in 2019.

This partnership has developed in response to an anti-gay slur that is commonly used by soccer fans during goal kicks at stadiums worldwide. The LAFC condemned fan use of this homophobic language on multiple occasions in 2018, and has now decided to take the necessary steps to ensure that the offensive goal kick chant will not be tolerated at Banc of California Stadium. As of LAFC’s home opener on March 3, 2019, any fans who participate in this kind of act will be permanently banned from the stadium. Season members will also have their memberships revoked.

LAFC President and Co-Owner Tom Penn and Jimmy Lopez, President of the 3252 expressed in joint statement that “Last season, [they] were disappointed and upset that the chant resurfaced at [their] stadium.” They continued by stating, “We pledged at that time to take steps to eliminate the chant from our games, and we are thankful to work with GLAAD and our fans and supporters to hold each other accountable. We believe that  our more robust and educated security presence will help create an experience we can all be proud of.”

Throughout 2019, LAFC and the 3252 will implement various strategies to ensure greater inclusion and safety, including an improved and heavier security presence. Staff members at the stadium will be trained and dedicated exclusively to dealing with this issue. These types of strategies ultimately serve the purpose of ensuring that all fans have a “safe, fun experience free of homophobia, transphobia, racism and sexism.”

LAFC also created a video message to fans that will be played before and during matches at Banc of California Stadium. The video showcases the team’s head coach and several players speaking in different languages to offer a message that reads, in part, “Our club is for everyone. Stand with us, shoulder to shoulder, to create the best atmosphere in MLS. Stop the hateful chant during goal kicks. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and discrimination will not be tolerated in our stadium. Together, let’s win in the stands.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis stated: “When fans attend a match, they should be met with a stadium that welcomes everyone and unites people to cheer for the LAFC, but whenever this chant occurred, LGBTQ and ally fans were made to feel less than.” Ellis continued by adding, “With this new campaign, the LAFC has raised the bar for inclusion and we hope that other teams nationwide and Major League Soccer will follow their lead by taking proactive steps to create safe and inclusive stadiums.”

GLAAD, The 3252, LAFC’s Independent Supporters Union and Pride Republic, LAFC’s LGBTQ+ supporter group are calling on other MLS supporter groups to take proactive steps for their respective team organizations to join them in efforts to stop all bias at all matches.