ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando City Soccer Club has come down hard on its fans after four were arrested and 16 had to be thrown out of a game in St. Petersburg on Sunday.
In a letter posted to the team’s website Wednesday night, President Phil Rawlins temporarily suspended two groups of supporters, the Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm, until they agree to a new code of conduct that follows MLS guidelines.
Orlando City fan David Stewart told Channel 9's Myrt Price that the type of behavior exhibited by Orlando fans in St. Petersburg makes him hesitant about taking his children to games.
"Fans who are unruly and rowdy, it makes me think twice. Of course you want to support our team, but my kids' safety is first," Stewart said.
Officials with the soccer club laid out new rules for soccer fans.
"There is an absolute line and we're making sure with the new fan code of conduct that line isn't crossed," said Brett Lashbrook, with Orlando City Soccer.
The letter posted to the team's website said that the fans who were arrested have also been suspended from all future games, pending the outcome of their legal proceedings. The team said that those arrested were members of the Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm.
The club also said the use of drums, flags and large banners will not be allowed.
According to Orlando City Soccer officials, they are working on new guidelines for fans who want to be part of a "recognized support group." They said a new fan code of conduct is being distributed.
Stewart said he is happy to see that Orlando City is taking aggressive action to keep the stands safe for families.
"It's definitely appropriate and beneficial for them to do this," he said.