TSF Echoes Calls for transparency in disciplinary actions targeted at supporters groups

This evening, officers from Triangle Soccer Fanatics and Oak City Supporters met with members of the Carolina RailHawks front office for our regular monthly meeting.  We talked about issues relevant to supporters such as stadium policies, security, upcoming events, watch parties, roadtrips, and other activities where we work hand-in-hand to ensure the best experience for RailHawks fans.  We enjoy a very collaborative, transparent, and productive relationship with RailHawks President Curt Johnson and his staff.

That spirit of collaboration extends to the NASL League office, where we participate annually in the league supporters group leaders summit.  We have an on-going dialogue with League COO Brian Melekian about topics such as TV coverage, visiting supporters policies, security, and post-season planning.  We even received a direct call from NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson last summer for a frank discussion after we issued an open letter to the League related to our ownership challenges.

Unfortunately, not all supporters groups in all professional leagues in North America enjoy this same level of collaboration.  A perfect example is the controversy brewing in DC where a member of the District Ultras has been handed a one year ban from all Major League Soccer events and his entire supporters group losing match privileges for an incident prior to a recent DC United match.   The issue centers around setting off a standard smoke device (frequently used by supporters groups including Triangle Soccer Fanatics inside stadiums) in the parking lot of RFK stadium.

While Triangle Soccer Fanatics is not in a position to comment on the specifics of this incident, whether Mr. Parsons did in fact violate any policies or endanger any individuals by his actions, or whether his ban is warranted or not, we do stand with our fellow member groups in the Independent Supporters Council in calling on all professional soccer organizations in North America to implement clear, fair and transparent rules and review processes that would regulate bans and sanctions placed on supporters groups or their members.  We are open-minded as to what form this due process might take, but it is our belief that such a process should be open, include representatives from supporters organizations, and have an independent appeal process.

The passion and exuberance with which soccer supporters celebrate their team does sometimes cross the line.  However, adjudicating those incidents in a closed, arbitrary process with no due process is not productive for any parties involved.  It disrespects the efforts supporters groups make to enhance the League’s perception, creates mistrust, and stresses relationships that are integral to the success of all involved.  Supporters Groups, Professional Soccer Teams and Leagues must be partners to grow the sport here in North America and an open review process is critical to that continued partnership.

Win Aly Hassan’s match-worn jersey when you support Walk MS

RailHawks Forward #9 Aly Hassan RailHawks Forward #9 Aly Hassan

At Triangle Soccer Fanatics, one of our primary missions is to engage in community service projects. We try to do projects and raise funds for organization that are meaningful to not only the residents of this area but also to the players of the Carolina RailHawks soccer team.

RailHawks forward Aly Hassan has been touched recently by MS when his father Marvin was diagnosed. In honor of Aly’s father, TSF will be fundraising for the MS Society and participating in their Walk MS Triangle event on April 23rd. The event will be held at 9:00am on Saturday morning at the PNC Arena. We hope, as a team, to raise $999 in honor of the RailHawks #9 and his father.

As a thank you for your support, Aly will be donating his match-worn RailHawks jersey from the April 16th game versus Ottawa Fury.  For every $5 you donate* to support the TSF Walk Team, you will receive one entry into a lottery to win the autographed jersey.

In Aly’s own words, here’s why we are raising money for the MS Society:

“Raising money for the MS Society is not only important to me, but to millions of fighters and family members around the world. Having to watch one of the people you love most suffer from such a condition on a day to day basis is something that nobody should have to go through. This money will be able to help the future generations to come.

Those who may have loved ones with MS will be able to have the confidence in knowing that there is a brighter day after the struggles that this disease may bring. Those who have yet to be exposed to the beginning of this disease may have ways of preventing painful days to come.

Raising this money is not just for those with MS today, but for the people and families that might have to face it in the future. My father Marvin Hassan has MS and has been bed ridden for the last few years and it is something we as a family have been dealing with. It’s not easy but I believe that some day in the future there will be a cure.

Please join me in taking a stand to fight for those currently being affected and those to come. Let’s vow to make a difference and help find a cure for MS.”

— Aly Alberto Hassan

Will you help TSF reach our goal?  There are 4 ways you can support our effort:

  1. Join our team as a walker and raise funds from friends and family to support our goal.
  2. Make a financial donation directly to the TSF team or one of our members.
  3. Volunteer to help collect funds at a TSF event or an upcoming RailHawks match.
  4. Volunteer directly with the MS Walk organization to be support staff on the day of event.

* Donations will be accepted both online and in-person at TSF events.  You will receive one entry in the lottery per $5 donated (e.g., donate $20, receive 4 entries).  Online donations will be entered automatically into the lottery as long as your donation is not made Anonymously.  If you make a donation anonymously online, you may contact TSF privately to confirm your donation and receive your lottery entries.  Donations made in person must fill out a contact information form at the time of donation in order to be entered into the lottery.  A random lottery will be conducted on Sunday, April 24th at the conclusion of fundraising and the lottery winner notified by email and delivery arrangements confirmed.