Word got out Tuesday that FC Dallas had notified the Houston Dynamo of sanctions against their supporters groups. The SGs will not be allowed to bring flags, banners or instruments to the next four games between the two clubs at Toyota Stadium. Additionally, they would be restricted to 100 SG-specific tickets for each game. The question lingering was why? Corey Roepken reported earlier today that smoke bombs and streamers are the reason for the sanctions against Dynamo fans.
Texian Army issued a statement disagreeing with the sanctions and stating that they did not set off the smoke bombs. Texian Army did point out that the Visiting Supporter Group Plan document seemed to leave room for fans to set off smoke bombs outside of the stadium. They posted the Visiting Supporter Group Plan document on Twitter of which Section 3 lists the items that are prohibited and No. 15 says “Flares, incendiary devices, smoke bombs, sparklers and fireworks of any kind.” What it doesn’t say is where exactly they are prohibited from, offering no clarification on if it’s only inside the stadium or anywhere on the grounds. Fans interpreted “on stadium property” as meaning inside the stadium. FC Dallas officials claimed that phrase encompassed the parking lot. Texian Army also pointed out Dallas does allow their own fans to set off smoke bombs. The details of which are even posted on the team’s website.
I spoke with Gina Miller, FC Dallas’ VP of Media and Communication, about the sanctions to get some clarity on the issues at hand. Miller said, “No outside supporter group is allowed to have smoke bombs on Toyota Stadium property. Local supporters go through a vetting process with local fire departments to be allowed to set off ‘fog bombs’.” The security liaison who was with the Dynamo SGs for the game reported that two smoke bombs had been set off prior to the game but that they were put out as soon as they were told they could not have them. As part of the third-party reports that Dallas received was also the issue that Dynamo fans has started a “F*ck Dallas” chant during the game and streamers had been thrown from the traveling support area inside the stadium.
I asked how the sanctions were determined in relation to the the infractions, but Miller wasn’t sure, “This was ruled on and handed down by MLS. We were just the messengers.” This means that any appeals would have to be sent to MLS. Since they were the ones who made the ruling it’s hard to see them backtracking on the decision.
This is far from the first incident with MLS fans and smoke bombs. Last season, DCU fans ran into an issue after a fan detonated a colored smoke bomb outside the stadium. The fan, Matt Parsons, was also a credentialed member of the team’s supporters group which made it a larger issue. In DC, colored smoke is illegal so the team responded by giving Parsons a one-year ban from games. The District Ultras were not allowed to have flags, flag poles, and drums for one game as a punishment. The move further alienated fans who were already frustrated over poor team results and rising ticket costs.
For the Dynamo’s part, they sent out a tweet encouraging their fans to bring their flags to the next home game against Dallas.
Editor’s Notes: Story has been updated to clarify that Texian Army did not set off the parking lot smoke bombs.