Major League Soccer executives today announced their decision to suspend a ban on flags bearing an antifascist symbol the Iron Front.
The announcement comes after meetings with the Timbers Army and its nonprofit arm, the 107 Independent Supporters Council, and other fan groups. MLS also agreed to form a working group made up of the league front office, leaders of club supporter groups and "diversity and inclusion experts."
"As part of this decision to update the Fan Code of Conduct for 2020," MLS president Mark Abbott said in a statement, "MLS has suspended the prohibition on the Iron Front imagery at matches for the balance of the 2019 season and MLS Cup Playoffs while the working group conducts its analysis."
The ban on Iron Front flags and banners was announced in May. Timbers Army fans staged successive protests against the bans and multiple fans, including Cider Riot owner Abram Goldman-Armstrong, were issued three-game bans for flying Iron Front flags in defiance.
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Leaders of supporter groups who met with MLS said in a statement: "We appreciate Major League Soccer's willingness to engage, listen, and learn," and "we look forward to continuing the dialogue, moving away from direct action in the stands on this issue, and instead focusing our energy on making progress around the table."
The Timbers office applauded the 107IST and MLS for their collaboration this afternoon in a tweet.
"We're optimistic a more thoughtful Code of Conduct will be created," it said, "and appreciate everyone's willingness to listen, learn and come together."
We applaud the efforts by MLS, the 107ist and ISC for achieving a positive resolution & collaborative path forward on the Fan Code of Conduct. We're optimistic a more thoughtful Code of Conduct will be created & appreciate everyone’s willingness to listen, learn & come together. https://t.co/SP3q6ymih1— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) September 25, 2019