Today, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (or simply CONCACAF) announced the “Stadium We All Want” initiative to ensure a safe and welcoming stadium environment and improved fan experience for spectators, teams and stadium workers during the 2017 Gold Cup.
“CONCACAF values and shares the passion of its fans for this game,” said CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani. “Of course, we love the energy that fans put into supporting their teams. At Gold Cup 2017, we will encourage fans to use that energy and their voices to cheer for goals, rather than to hurt or offend others. We want to work with our fans and partners to create a stadium atmosphere in which we can enjoy football together, in a welcoming, safe environment for all – the Stadium We All Want.”
CONCACAF has decided to take steps to improve the fan experience stemming from prior events. During the 2015 Gold Cup, Mexico and Panama faced off in the semifinals at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The match was stopped multiple times due to the Mexican fans protesting the referee’s decisions. Debris, food, plastic bottles and other objects were thrown at the match officials in blatant protest. It goes without saying, obscenities were hurled at the officials throughout that night. Mexico would win the match; while Panama believed the referees were influenced by El Tri’s raucous fans.
At Gold Cup 2017, CONCACAF and these partners will team up to educate, encourage and support fans in working towards a better stadium environment by combating inappropriate behavior, such as offensive chanting, launching of projectiles and field invasions, while continuing to maintain the safety and security of fans, players and other guests as the top priority.
“Along with our partners we are determined to create the change necessary to ensure all fans feel safe and welcome in the stadium,” said CONCACAF General Secretary Philippe Moggio. “It’s time to take bigger, bolder strides towards building that ideal stadium atmosphere where everyone feels at home. At Gold Cup 2017, the focus will be on raising awareness that certain chants can be offensive to some and go against the unifying nature of our sport and our shared values of acceptance and respect.”
Taking place every two years, the CONCACAF Gold Cup is the official national team championship of the region featuring top players from North and Central America and the Caribbean. Drawing large crowds and millions of television viewers from around the world, the Gold Cup is a celebration of soccer, sportsmanship, and culture. The tournament kicks off tomorrow in New York and will culminate with the final at Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, July 26th.