Members of a sub-group of Toronto FC supporters were escorted out of Ottawa’s TD Place Stadium after they set off a blast, ignited a fire in the stands and threw a flare onto the field during a game against Ottawa Fury on Wednesday night.
The group was sitting on the north side of the stadium, in a section that is normally used by away fans.
Coverage of Toronto FC on Globalnews.ca:
A fire started up in their section some time in the second half.
Then a blast went off in a video that was captured by Ottawa resident Jenn Jefferys.
“They were rowdy the entire game,” Jefferys told Global News.
“It started to get kind of wild at that point, they started to light flares, what seemed to be some form of fireworks, and then they threw one of the flares on the field.”
The game continued after the blast, as if nothing happened, though people did boo the rowdy fans.
A photo of the fans showed people wearing red ski masks and looking over a fire at the base of the stands.
Ottawa Fury FC spokeswoman Michele Dion confirmed that the fans were supporting Toronto FC.
In a statement, the team’s parent company said members of this group brought a “small quantity of fireworks into the stadium and ignited them during the second half of the match.”
No one was hurt and the ones who lit them were ejected from the game.
The fireworks were not found despite supporters having their bags checked as they entered the venue.
Toronto FC has apologized for their fans’ behaviour, the statement said.
Ottawa Police are investigating the incident.
“Public safety is of paramount importance and TD Place will review this incident and security policies to determine how they might be modified to prevent such incidents in the future,” the statement added.
Keenan Wellar was watching the game from his 16th floor apartment above TD Place Stadium when the blast went off.
He said he doesn’t recall a scene like that one at a Fury game in the past.
“One of them managed to set their own supporter flag on fire, which was quite a large flag,” he told Global News.
Wellar said the Ottawa Fury, who play in the United Soccer League (USL), which is considered a tier below Major League Soccer (MLS), appeal to a family-centered crowd and normally don’t even play games in the evenings.
Toronto FC were playing Fury in the first leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final.
Whoever wins the Canadian Championship wins the Voyageurs Cup and a place in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Toronto FC won the game 1-0.