LAFC fined $100K, fan group suspended for illegal flares

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LAFC fined, fan group suspended for illegal flares (0:42)

MLS has fined LAFC $100,000 after a group of fans engaged in "serious misconduct" prior to the Western Conference final against the Houston Dynamo. (0:42)

Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday it has fined LAFC $100,000 and indefinitely suspended the privileges of the supporter group 3252 after the group engaged in "serious misconduct" just prior to the Western Conference final against the Houston Dynamo on Dec. 2.

The penalties also involve the club being subject to "MLS oversight related to security and supporter management processes," according to the league's statement.

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In addition to having its supporter privileges suspended for next season, the 3252 -- the section of fans who sit on the north end of LAFC's BMO Stadium -- will have its privileges "restricted" for this Saturday's MLS Cup final against the Columbus Crew, to be held at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio.

One source with knowledge of the incident told ESPN that the misconduct involved the lighting of around 20 flares, which were not authorized by MLS. The flares created so much smoke that the start of the game had to be delayed.

The flares were lit despite accommodations being granted to 3252 to create what is called "safe smoke."

"In coordination with MLS, LAFC agrees to conduct a full investigation of the incident and violators will be subject to further penalties, indefinite bans (including MLS Cup) and all appropriate legal action," the statement read in part. "The comprehensive review will focus on improving security and supporter management processes for 2024 and beyond."

LAFC is attempting to win a second consecutive MLS Cup on Saturday after beating the Philadelphia Union in the final in 2022.

The club said in a statement on Thursday: "The Los Angeles Football Club is committed to ensuring a safe environment for all fans at BMO Stadium. It has always been the goal of LAFC to create a model Club both on and off the field, and to create a safe, fan-friendly experience and impact our league and sport in a positive manner.

"LAFC agrees to work in coordination with MLS on a full investigation of the violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct by the LAFC supporter group 3252 prior to the Audi MLS Cup Playoff match against Houston on December 2. Together with MLS, LAFC will conduct a comprehensive review aimed at improving security and the supporter management processes for 2024 and beyond."