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Utah Royals fan banned from stadium, NWSL after alleged racist behavior against Portland GK

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Sep 14th, 2019 @ 12:20pm



SANDY — After a week's investigation, action was swift and decisive by Utah Royals FC.

The Sandy-based women's soccer club issued a lifetime ban for all events at Rio Tinto Stadium to a fan after an investigation verified claims of racist slurs being shouted at Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch during the Royals' 1-0 win over the Thorns last week.

"On Friday, September 6, a fan in attendance at Utah Royals FC’s 1-0 win over the Portland Thorns was shouting racist slurs at a Portland player," the Royals announced in a brief statement. "Thanks in no small part to assistance from fans seated in the vicinity, the fan has since been identified and the club has issued a lifetime ban to the offending party."

Franch first drew attention to the subject on a later-deleted Twitter post, then added a lengthier statement condemning racism in all shapes and forms during the investigation.

"The situation surrounding our game Friday night is not a new issue, nor is it a first for me," Franch tweeted. "Racism is not okay in any form!! We as a human race can be better and should be better. We as a sport can help show the way."

The ban also includes Zions Bank Stadium, the soccer-specific stadium in Herriman adjacent to the RSL Academy that houses Real Salt Lake's second-division club Real Monarchs.

In a separate statement, the National Women's Soccer League issued a ban on all NWSL-sanctioned stadiums toward the fan, who was not publicly identified, as well.

"After a thorough investigation, the individual who made racist comments toward one of our players at the Utah Royals FC home game on Friday, September 6, 2019, has been identified and banned from attending games at Rio Tinto Stadium. The ban will also extend to all NWSL games played at other venues," the league's statement read. "NWSL will not tolerate inappropriate fan behavior. Racism has no place in our sport."

The club added the hashtag "Say no to racism" on its Twitter account with the attached statement.

The Royals organization also encouraged fans to contact stadium personnel if they see additional problems with fan behavior via the in-stadium run text line fan text line at 801-996-4042.

After a 2-1 loss Friday night at Houston, Utah Royals FC travels to the Pacific Northwest to face Tacoma, Washington-based Reign FC next Wednesday, Sept. 18 before returning to Rio Tinto Stadium next Saturday, Sept. 21 to host league-leading North Carolina.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MDT and will be streamed on KSL.com and Yahoo Sports.

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