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All-seating vs standing, the Montreal experience

Front Commun Montreal, Canada

Montreal’s Saputo Stadium has a capacity of 20 521 people, making it an average size stadium for MLS standards. It is worth nothing that it is a “soccer-specific” stadium. In the North American context, where “soccer” is often seen as the 4th of 5th sport after baseball, American football, basketball or hockey, not all teams play in such “soccer-specific” stadiums. Seattle Sounders or Vancouver Whitecaps for example, play in much bigger stadiums, designed mainly for American football. Even our team, Montreal Impact, has to play at the Olympic Stadium when the weather is too cold or snowy (from November to April…) Historically, North American stadiums have always been all-seating. That means that there is usually no standing areas or terraces. Some venues, for example the New-York City Yankee stadium (baseball) or the 49ers Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco (American football) have standing room but it is usually a small area located behind seated spectators. They are often the cheapest tickets since you often can’t see the whole field. Before the opening of Stade Saputo in 2008, Impact was playing at the Complexe Claude-Robillard, a former training center for track and field at the 1976 Olympics. When the first generation of ultras from UM02 decided to stand on the bleachers, around 2001-2002, it was sort of a shock for many spectators. Why were these people standing and singing when they could simply sit and watch the game? These early ultras were right to keep up the fight.

With its 6 sections, designed by cardinal directions (North, South, East, West, South-East and South-West) our stadium is divided into subsections numbered from 101 to 134. There are officially 2 subsections where “fans are permitted to remain standing”, section 132 where most supporters group are active and section 131 where the first two or three rows are packed with standing supporters while the remaining 30 rows have supporters standing from time to time. A small supporters’ group 127 Montréal (in section 127 obviously!) also choose stand at a corner of the stadium. Some supporters also tried to have a new standing section in 114 (opposite end of section 132) but is seems that after a couple games their project was aborted.

So, standing is, most and foremost, unique to section 132. Since last season, the first 15-20 meters are made of 4 or 5 metal platforms of about 1 meter wide. They are then followed by bleachers or stands, made of a long metal plank where you can either sit or stand.

Besides its MLS season, Impact has played in the CONCACAF Champions League. As supporters, we obviously stand at the very same place and sing, wave flags and do other stuff…CONCACAF rule 10.4 is nonetheless clear: “As a general rule, matches may only be played in all-seated stadia. If only stadia with both seating and tanding areas are available,the standing space shall remain vacant”

Fuck them. Our section will never be vacant and we’ll remain standing!

saputo2

 

 

 

 

Funny video of section 132, begin at 0:40!

UM02 en actionle message est clair !!!!

Posted by Alexandre Saudemont on Saturday, 10 May 2014