TORONTO (AP) — Toronto FC issued permanent bans to four supporters on Friday, three days after fights in the stands during a 2-1 loss to Montreal in the Canadian Championship.
It marks the first time the Major League Soccer club resorted to permanent bans. In the past, penalized spectators were able to apply for reinstatement after a year. The four banned fans had ticket accounts with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.
“It’s disappointing,” Toronto president Bill Manning said. “We take this seriously. We hold keeping a safe environment in our stadium as our highest priority. The visiting Montreal fans should be able to come to our stadium and enjoy the game even if they’re rooting for the opposition. And we expect that from them when we go to Montreal. These type of violations of what we call the code of conduct in our venues, it can’t be tolerated.”
Montreal has banned visiting Toronto fans from Saturday’s MLS rematch at Saputo Stadium, closing the visiting supporters’ section.
Following the final whistle, Toronto midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye had to be restrained on the field from going after some abusive TFC fans in the south stand. Video posted on social media showed a fan throwing a megaphone on the field in Kaye’s direction.