MLS Set to Meet With Supporters Groups Over Political Sign Controversy

Representatives of the league will convene with a trio of groups in Las Vegas

Seattle Sounders supporters
Seattle Sounders supporters, pictured here in 2012, make a statement against racism.
Gregory Mauch/Creative Commons

The current season of Major League Soccer has abounded with controversy, larger-than-life personalities and heated arguments between passionate figures — and that’s even before you get onto the field. Before this season began, the league announced a crackdown on political signs at games — something that’s largely alienated some of the most energetic figures at games. 

At the center of this is the penchant for several supporters’ groups to display anti-fascist imagery and symbols. This should not be controversial — after all, a distaste for fascism and fascists should hardly be a contentious opinion — and yet here we are. The Iron Front symbol — comprised of a circle with three arrows pointed downward, with its origin in a group that opposed the Nazis in 1930s Germany — has been particularly contentious, and has sparked extensive use of the hashtag #AUnitedFront on Twitter.

This, in turn, has led to a number of high-profile suspensions for members of various teams’ supporters groups — putting Major League Soccer in the uncomfortable position of navigating a vague policy and alienating some of their teams’ most dedicated fans as they do so.

This week brings with it positive news that a resolution might be in the works. Major League Soccer and the Independent Supporters Council — which, as its name suggests, represents supporters’ groups from a host of teams across leagues based in the United States and Canada — have a set a meeting to discuss these concerns and attempt to work out their differences.

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reports that the meeting will take place on September 19 in Las Vegas. Representatives of Portland’s Timbers Army and Seattle’s Emerald City Supporters and Gorilla FC will be there, along with representatives of MLS and the ISC.

Hopefully this meeting can lead to a productive discussion and a resolution to an issue that’s frustrated many. 

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