On Monday, Major League Soccer branded Houston Dynamo supporter groups as hooligans. A letter sent from the league imposed sanctions for repeated violations from traveling fans during the Dynamo's late run last year to the MLS Cup.
The sanctions ban members of the Texian Army, El Battallon, Brickwall Firm and La Bateria from bringing items "listed as Supporter Group Exemptions in the MLS Prohibited Items policy." The ban goes in effect March 1, and only applies for road games. The letter sent to the hooligans is below.
This letter serves to address several violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct committed by Dynamo supporters at the following events:
1. MLS Cup, Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center (November 20, 2011): Violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included a. multiple illegal smoke bombs were brought into the stadium, ignited and thrown onto the field b. various objects that presented a safety risk thrown onto the field in the direction of players and stadium personnel c. obscene language and gestures by multiple supporters
2. Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park (November 6th, 2011): Violation of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included a. a prohibited smoke bomb that was brought into the stadium and ignited
3. Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park (September 24, 2011): Violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included a. a prohibited smoke bomb that was brought into the stadium and ignited
As of March 1, Dynamo traveling supporters will not be permitted to utilize items listed as Supporter Group Exemptions in the MLS Prohibited Items policy (e.g. flags, banners, confetti, drums). This sanction shall continue to be in effect until otherwise notified by MLS; provided, however, that at a minimum it shall apply to the following games: 1. Houston Dynamo vs. Chivas at the Home Depot Center (March 11, 2012) 2. Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park (July 7, 2012)
The decision to impose this sanction is based on the League-wide position that misconduct at any MLS event can affect a fan's standing at other MLS facilities. MLS will not tolerate behavior which threatens the safety of any fan, stadium employee or match participant. The actions of just a few individuals can influence the perception of all of our supporters, clubs and League.
After the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12, 2012, the League will evaluate whether to lift the ban on the previously stated privileges. The following factors will be considered in determining the ultimate length of this restriction: 1. Supporter conduct at 2012 MLS away games 2. Supporter conduct at BBVA Compass Stadium 3. Implementation of a supporter charter 4. Formation of an effective leadership system for all Dynamo supporters that is recognized by the club
The League is encouraged by the ongoing discussion between the Dynamo supporters and the front office to learn from past events and prevent them in the future. While regrettable that these incidents took place, it is our hope that 2012 marks the year that such misconduct is a thing of the past so that we can return to our focus of supporting the Texian Army, El Battallon, Brickwall Firm, La Bateria and any other legitimate group supporting the Dynamo.
The league is banning the Dynamo SG's from bringing drums and smoke bombs, which seems to be a double standard. The league openly promotes the use of such items to increase the fan atmosphere at games. It even puts them in their promos, as a Philadelphia Union supporter is seen beating a drum with smoke in the background halfway through this clip.
Apparently, Dynamo hooligans just have to learn to choose their moments of hooliganism wisely. Throwing objects on the field should never be tolerated, but the league could have dealt with the incidents after the FC Dallas or Sporting games. Instead, they only react after Landon Donovan and David Beckham were on the field. Watch out, Thierry Henry, the bull's-eye is on you.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.