CHICAGO — The Chicago Fire’s decision to disown a group of Latino supporters has fans threatening to show no support during home games.
Sector Latino Chicago will no longer be recognized as a designated supporter group by the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, according to a Friday news release from the team. All of the tickets for section 101 of the stadium — where the group sits — have been canceled and refunded for the season, and Sector Latino’s supporter privileges have been revoked.
The Fire said the change came because Sector Latino members had broken the club’s Fan Code of Conduct, which dictates how fans behave during games to create a “safe, comfortable and enjoyable soccer experience.” Members of the section had used a smoke bomb and been involved in “multiple incidents involving physical violence,” according to ProSoccerUSA.com.
In response, Section 8, an organization that acts as a liaison between the club and supporters groups like Sector Latino, has announced it will “forgo organized support” during the Fire’s Saturday game — and during future home matches until section 101 is reinstated.
“The ethos of collective punishment shown this year goes against the long-standing spirit of collaboration between this club and its supporters,” Section 8 said in a news release. Section 8 “remains committed to working with both Sector Latino and the Front Office to reinstate season ticket holders to section 101 and seeking out a conversation to determine better ways to ensure the fan code of conduct is adhered to.”
The Fire acknowledged in its news release that not all members of the group had been involved in problematic behavior, but said the “number of violations by certain group members – including some of the group’s leadership and the unwillingness or inability of the leadership to prevent further violations – left no alternative … .”
The group was given several warnings before losing its recognition, but “serious violations” of the Code of Conduct continued, according to the Fire.
Though Section 8 is protesting the Fire’s decision, the organization will still tailgate and collect food for the Greater Chicago Food Depository at the stadium’s North Lot before its 7 p.m. Saturday game.
Sector Latino will host a watch party for the game at the Garage bar, 3202 Grove Ave. in Berwyn.