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Major League Soccer lifts ban, allows fans to display Antifa-adopted 'Iron Front' flag during games

Fans previously got suspended for the flag

Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Major League Soccer has reached an agreement with fan organizations to allow the display of the Iron Front flag, during games, an action that previously resulted in ejections and suspensions for fans who wielded it, according to the Seattle Times.

The Iron Front flag, which features a symbol of three arrows pointing down and to the left, originated with an anti-Nazi paramilitary group from the 1930s, has more recently been adopted by Antifa.

Major League Soccer's Fan Code of Conduct bans political signage from games. Last week, after meeting with fan groups which included representative supporters of the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers, the MLS decided to suspend the ban on Iron Front displays and create a working group to reevaluate the code of conduct.

"This working group will include representatives from the league office and clubs and work collaboratively with leaders of club supporter groups and a cross-section of diversity and inclusion experts," an MLS statement read. "As part of this decision to update the Fan Code of Conduct for 2020, MLS has suspended the prohibition on the Iron Front imagery at matches for the balance of the 2019 seaosn and Audi MLS Cup Playoffs while the working group conducts its analysis."

The fan groups fighting for the right to fly the Antifa flag argued that the Iron Front symbol is one of inclusion, and had responded to the ban on it by organizing protests at games.

"This is a victory for communities who are standing up against hate," said Sheba Rawson, president of the Timbers Army fan group. "We look forward to continuing to work with the league to ensure that stadiums are safe and welcoming spaces for all."

The temporary rules change appears to only apply to the Iron Front flag, and other political expressions may remain banned. For example the Associated Press reported that a fan who waved a Trump 2020 flag in Portland was removed from the stadium.

(H/T: Deadspin)

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