Toronto FC Supporters To Protest During MLS All-Star Game

Danny BrownAnalyst IJuly 10, 2008

A coalition of Toronto FC supporters groups will stage a silent protest during the upcoming Major League Soccer all-star game at BMO Field in Toronto.

The groups are increasingly concerned about the possible expansion of BMO Field to accommodate CFL football and specifically the Toronto Argonauts. The groups feel strongly that this would ruin the unique experience that has made Toronto FC such a successful franchise. It is not possible to fit a CFL field into the stadium without major reconstruction.

Toronto FC's most rabid supporters will sit rather than stand during the all-star game. There will be limited chanting and cheering. They will wear black. Many of these supporters have pledged to boycott Toronto FC games should the stadium be retrofitted for CFL football.

"This is not an anti-Argos protest," said Pedro Almeida, leader of the North End Elite supporters group.

"Many of our members are Argos fans. We have nothing against the Argos or the CFL. We wish them the best of success. But Toronto FC fans signed up in the thousands to support this team based on the premise of it being a soccer-specific stadium with real grass and an intimate setting. We didn't get the grass. We better get to keep the intimate setting."

Fans around the world mock MLS soccer when they see highlights of games being played in cavernous NFL stadiums decorated with football yardlines.

"The supporters groups are united on this," said Jack DePoe, president of the Red Patch Boys. "The club, the players, the media, everyone has acknowledged the contribution of the supporters groups in the club's success. We want everyone to understand how upset we are about the possibility of a CFL football retrofit. We won't stand for this kind of expansion."

"This was supposed to be our national soccer stadium," said Rudi Schuller, one of the leaders of U Sector. "But the national team players have already made it clear they prefer to play in other venues because of the Field Turf. Rebuilding for the CFL would further take BMO Field away from being the national soccer stadium."

Soccer-specific stadiums has long been a key part of the league's business plan. Seven of the league's 14 teams currently play in SS stadiums. Two others will move into SS stadiums within the next year. The rest have plans to build one.

For more information, contact Jack with Red Patch Boys.