Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Suspends Supporter Group Privileges after Incident in Ottawa Stands

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Suspends Supporter Group Privileges after Incident in Ottawa Stands

Article excerpt

TFC suspends supporter group privileges

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Toronto FC indefinitely suspended recognized supporter group privileges and announced plans for a review of the program Thursday after fires briefly burned in the stands during a Canadian Championship game at Ottawa's TD Place Stadium.

Ottawa police were investigating Wednesday night's incident, which led to a delay late in the second half of the two-leg semifinal opener between TFC and Ottawa Fury FC.

TFC supporters set off flares and smoke bombs that led to small fires in the stands and even on the pitch before they were extinguished by security.

"The safety of our fans, employees and supporters is the highest priority for TFC," Toronto FC president Bill Manning said in a statement. "The events which took place in Ottawa last night involving TFC supporters were unacceptable and needlessly put the safety of others at risk. Due to the seriousness of this incident we are left with no choice but to suspend all recognized supporter group privileges indefinitely as we conduct a thorough review of TFC's recognized supporter program.

"We are fully co-operating with the Ottawa Police Department as they investigate this incident and work to identify those responsible."

Const. Chuck Benoit said the investigation is ongoing, no one is in custody and no charges have been laid. He added no injuries were reported and investigators were still trying to identify those involved.

Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group said members of the TFC supporters group smuggled a "small quantity of fireworks into the stadium and ignited them during the second half of the match" and that the perpetrators were ejected from the stadium.

The OSEG statement added that all members of the visiting group were subjected to bag checks and security scans prior to entering the stadium and that "no fireworks or other devices were detected. …

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