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November 1, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Supporters groups in three-way Pacific Northwest rivalry make their case for larger ticket allocations for away fans

Sounders FC fan support is something special (see above) and the die-hard commitment from its supporters groups plays a large role in that. Portland and Vancouver are expected to have similarly enthusiastic followings upon arrival to MLS next season.

One looming issue for them all is that of ticket allocation for away fans as we all look forward to the reintroduction to the three-way rivalry in 2011. Currently the league-mandated limit of tickets for away fans is 150. It’s no surprise that Seattle/Portland/Vancouver fans alike want more.

Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer addressed the ongoing issue in this post last week. Here is a release from some of the fans communicating their concerns:

* * *

Cascadia Supporters Groups Jointly Oppose 150 Seat Limit for Visiting Fans

Unified Call for Clubs to Reasonably Accommodate Traveling Fans in 2011

Portland, OR., Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, WA. — October 22, 2010 –The Timbers Army, Emerald City Supporters, and Vancouver Southsiders have combined forces in order to jointly oppose limiting visiting support in Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland to the 150 tickets stipulated by Major League Soccer. The united supporters groups assert that visiting support adds greatly to the atmosphere of their home stadiums and that limiting the amount of visiting supporters to 150 is an insult to the tradition and history surrounding the Cascadia Rivalry and undermines the growth of Major League Soccer in the Pacific Northwest.

In the NASL days thousands of fans packed cars and buses traveling to and from Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver. The USL proved to be no different with each group sending hundreds of fans to their rival cities in support of their hometown team. In the past decade, traveling support has increased each year between the Cascadia Clubs and in 2010 each supporters group has sent as many as 750 fans to US Open Cup matches, pre-season and regular season matches between the three teams. At the cusp of the three clubs returning to the highest professional level in North America the supporters groups have been left in the dark with rumors emanating from Seattle that owner Joe Roth has decided that only 150 visiting supporters will be allowed in to, “ensure the safety and security of the Seattle fans while keeping the integrity of the home crowd and the great atmosphere.” The Cascadia supporters groups strongly disagree with that sentiment.

“If Seattle limits traveling support at 150 in Qwest Field our front office would likely do the same to Seattle at the very least if not Vancouver as well,” said Dave Hoyt, President of Portland’s 107 Independent Supporters Trust. “It is unacceptable that any of the three clubs will limit traveling support to a mere 150 seats when the demand is far higher and all three stadiums can accommodate, at a minimum, 1,000 away supporters in a safe and comfortable manner.”

“Obviously our stadium can accommodate traveling supporters,” said Keith Hodo, President of Seattle’s Emerald City Supporters, “According to page 30 I.14 C of FIFA football club regulations clubs are recommended to allocate 5% of the seating in their stadium to the away support. We (ECS) feel that our club should heed this recommendation and exceed it, offering as many seats as either Portland or Vancouver are willing to bring people. This will only enhance the atmosphere in the stadium and increase the profile of football here in the States.”

“A 150 fan limit simply denies the reality and passion all three sets of supporters have for their club and the fact many will travel regardless of artificially imposed limits, ” said John Knox, president of the Vancouver Whitecaps supporter’s organization. Knox continued, “The Southsiders strongly believe that there needs to be a cohesive, unified policy among all three clubs that provides for a safe and fun fan experience for visiting Cascadia supporters while maximizing the opportunity to travel in 2011 ”

The three supporters groups strongly encourage traveling support from all cities in the Cascadia rivalry.

There should be no limits on traveling support and there should be a designated section for away fans. Traveling supporters on another team’s home turf electrifies the atmosphere and increases the earnestness in supporting your own team.

Simply letting visiting fans purchase individual tickets throughout the three stadiums will create more chaos and a higher potential for incidents all three groups want to avoid.

Work together to find acceptable solutions to security concerns. The collective front offices should work with their supporters groups to assure the safety and security of both the home and away fan.

Major League Soccer stands to benefit from this rivalry. In 2011 the eyes of the league will be set squarely on the Pacific Northwest. Do not rob the league and the three clubs represented from becoming the pride of Major League Soccer.


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