Major League Soccer (MLS) announced Tuesday it is elevating security measures at all 20 stadiums with a new bag policy and screening measures.
All fans will be fully screened upon entry into the stadiums by either a full pat down or with the use of a search wand of magnetometers, MLS said. Each stadium will decide which security procedures and protocols to use.
Also, MLS will now prohibit fans from bringing in large purses, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, luggage of any kind, computer bags, camera bags and any bag larger than 14-by-14-by-6 inches. All bags will be searched.
“The safety of our fans, players and staff is paramount,” Ray Whitworth, senior vice president of security and operations, said in a statement. “The updated security measures bring us in line with professional sports leagues around the United States and Canada while maintaining the unique sports experience that is MLS.”
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The new security standards, which will be enforced beginning with Saturday’s matches, will apply to all MLS, Soccer United Marketing and United Soccer League games played at MLS stadiums, including MLS league and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup games, friendly matches and fan events.
One of the matches on Saturday features New York City FC taking on the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. In an effort to get fans to arrive earlier than normal, the stadium will open 90 minutes before the 4 p.m. Eastern kickoff.
“We’ve always placed fan safety as the No. 1 priority at our facility,” Talen Energy Stadium General Manager Mike Scanlon said in a story on The Philly Soccer Page. “We support Major League Soccer’s decision and will have the necessary screening procedures in place for Saturday and beyond to ensure full compliance.”
The bag restriction will not apply to credentialed media, who will continue to enter MLS stadiums through designated entrances and adhere to all posted media bag policies and screenings, according to MLS.
Last week, MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced the league is expanding to 24 teams by 2018, adding another round of expansion to 28 teams likely will take place in 2020.
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