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MLSE express `disappointment’ over fans’ road violence
April 1, 2009, 7:27 AM
Filed under: MLSE, TFC Supporters, Toronto FC

Unruly visiting Toronto FC supporters “crossed the line” in their post-game confrontation with hometown fans and police in Columbus, says the team’s owner.

“It’s a real disappointment,” Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and chief operating officer with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, said of Saturday’s incident.

About 2,000 TFC fans travelled to the game in Columbus against the Crew, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

After the game, police called in backup from across the city. A video of a man apparently being Tasered while being subdued by a group of officers was posted on YouTube.

“For the most part, our fans are terrific,” Anselmi said yesterday, adding the fact that so many go on the road with the team is “great; the players love that.

“But they’ve also got to behave. You get a couple of guys on the fringe there that don’t and it reflects on all of us – our city, our country, the sport, our franchise.”

Noting that those in the centre of the melee were “probably fuelled up on a couple of extra wobbly pops,” Anselmi said TFC officials have been in touch with their counterparts in Columbus and the Major League Soccer offices to find out exactly what happened, to try to ensure it doesn’t reoccur.

“Come and have a good time and enjoy the game and cheer as loud as you can,” Anselmi said. “But you can’t cross that line, and it sounds like a couple of them did.”

Sgt. Rich Weiner of the Columbus Police Department said the post-game incidents, which are unusual for Crew games, overwhelmed the security on hand.

“It was big enough to ask cars from all over the city to respond to that area because there were numerous fights and disturbances,” he said.

About 20 police cruisers arrived on the scene to assist, he said.

Weiner said he couldn’t confirm a Taser was used to subdue someone.

But eyewitness Chris Hough, who took pictures, said he very clearly heard the crackle of the Taser, which occurred when the man was already held by at least five officers.

“It just seemed over the top,” said Hough, 28, who drove from Toronto with three friends.

Hough said he saw a few isolated scraps, but generally the overall mood was “passionate about the game” and not violent.

A list of reports on the Columbus police website shows two incidents for Saturday at the stadium. One was for “disorderly conduct and resisting arrest” in the parking lot and the suspect was from Toronto.

The second incident involved a suspect punching someone in the face as police watched and then running away. Both the suspect and victim in that case are American.

Geoff Miller, the away-game organizer for the Red Patch Boys, the best known of TFC’s supporters groups, said “there’s no doubt that it’s a bit of a black eye.”

But he rejected suggestions that TFC fans were out of control.

“For the amount of fans and the amount of people that we had down there it was really, really minor,” said Miller.

He said problems began when security mixed TFC supporters, who had been in their own area of the stadium, and Crew fans together at the end of the game.

“Of course, words go back and forth, people have had too much to drink” and then a fight broke out.

“Now, people with cellphones and stuff they take … and the next thing it’s on the Internet and it gets blown way out of proportion,” Miller said.

Miller said he bought about 1,000 tickets for the game for TFC boosters. That means up to 1,000 others had no affiliation but asked to be seated with those from Toronto.

“Ninety nine per cent of those guys were all fantastic as well,” Miller said. “But it’s that 1 per cent that has too much to drink or thinks that the proper way to support is by getting in fights.”

Source: Click Here

TFC looking to the future
March 17, 2009, 3:36 PM
Filed under: MLSE, Mo Johnston, Toronto FC

An informal chat on Tuesday between Toronto FC supremo Mo Johnston, MLSE Executive VP and COO Tom Anselmi, and a hoard of salivating hacks both print and electronic, was a new, but useful way to start the new MLS season.

In fact the entire energy under the bubble at BMO field was exuding positiveness and good will.  Indeed, before a ball has been kicked in anger, everyone loves everyone, and all is right in Toronto’s footballing universe!  Let us enjoy it while it lasts, I dare say it will all change as the season progresses.

Some of the interesting comments and opinions:

* Yes, MLSE and TFC are hoping to one day play on grass at BMO.  Making this a reality will be a complicated, and a time consuming journey, but it is something that is being considered.

* An elite athete performance center is being eyed alongside the new Maple Leaf practice facility in the west end of Toronto.  This would allow the players to train on grass throughout the week.

* Expansion of BMO field by as many as 8000 seats has also been discussed.  Again, nothing is imminent, nothing is being planned, but it has at least been discussed.  Such expansion will cost in the neighbourhood of $15,000,000.

* Mo reiterated for the 94,000,000th time, that when the right player is available, a DP will be on his way to BMO, but as it stands, nothing is in the works.

* There is one more piece to the puzzle to come, a time frame has not been given as to exactly when, but when the player arrives that will likely be it!  At least for the time being.  Mo did not specify, but alluded to the fact that we all know what he wants, and of course that comes in the shape of a Center Half.

* Unlike last season when Mo Edu left, the club does not anticipate losing any players to Europe this season.

* MLS has debated aligning both the East and West conferences into one division, something TFC would support, but they don’t expect any changes to be coming to the League’s structure any time soon.

* TFC has targetted Africa as a relatively untapped market (evidenced by the recent signings of Amadou Sanyang, and Emmanuel Gomez) expect Mo to continue to work his contacts in the region.

* The Beckham Nightmare will not affect the League according to TFC.  Mo is adament the signing did pay off, and any embarrasment the League might currently be experiencing will not last.  Anselmi for the record, speaks passionately about the MLS brand, he says he is “as bullish about MLS as he’s ever been.” 

* Mo is not a fan of the Seattle model, where fans will vote in and vote out the General Manager!  No kidding!

TFC kicks off the 2009 season this Saturday in Kansas City.  The roster looks locked, aside from the imminent arrival in defence, and certainly the new boys look the part.  Adrian Serioux should be healthy for the weekend, and from what I saw today at training, Pablo Vitti looks lively, while De Ro looks like he’s going to be a little bit special!

Source: Click Here

MLSE buys GOLtv
January 23, 2009, 5:37 PM
Filed under: GOLtv, MLSE, Toronto FC

A source in the know told me last night that MLSE has purchased GolTV, Canada’s all-soccer network, for about $10-million from Insight Sports in Toronto. GolTV is a digital service that airs European and South American soccer programming.

Toronto businessman Larry Tanenbaum has interests in both MLSE and Insight.

Insight has invested at least $6 million in GolTV since its launch in 2005. The channel lost more than $2 million in each of its first two fiscal years.

MLSE will use GolTV to carry a schedule of games involving its Major League Soccer team, Toronto FC.

Source: Click Here