Why have LAFC been fined and had a fan group suspended just before the MLS Cup final?
The sanctions are related to an incident that took place before the Western Conference final against Houston Dynamo at BMO Stadium.
Columbus Crew and LAFC will fight it out for the MLS Cup on Saturday 9 December at Lower.com Field in Ohio, with the hosts riding on the crest of a wave after their dramatic comeback to win the Eastern Conference final against FC Cincinnati and the visitors aiming to win the competition for a second successive year.
How much have LAFC been fined?
However, in the run-up to their biggest game of the season, the Californians have been hit by a fine of $100,000 by Major League Soccer, who also indefinitely suspended the 3252 fan group due to “serious misconduct”.
“For failing to meet required safety protocols, LAFC has been fined $100,000 and will be subject to League oversight related to security and supporter management processes,” reads a statement put out by the league.
When does the supporter group suspension come into effect?
Fans belonging to the 3252 fan group, meanwhile, will have “all privileges indefinitely suspended” for the 2024 season, with “restrictions” put in place for Saturday’s MLS Cup game.
According to ESPN, LAFC have been fined after around 20 unauthorised flares were lit before the start of Western Conference final against Houston Dynamo on 2 December. As a result of the smoke generated by the flares, kick-off had to be delayed.
LAFC respond to sanctions
LAFC issued a statement in response, which reads as follows: “LAFC agrees to work in coordination with MLS on a full investigation of the violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct by the LAFC supporter group 3252 prior to the Audi MLS Cup Playoff match against Houston on December 2. Together with MLS, LAFC will conduct a comprehensive review aimed at improving security and the supporter management processes for 2024 and beyond.”