If you thought the fight over “YSA” was over, think again.
After issuing a compensation-based ultimatum to their three supporters groups, the New York Red Bulls and Major League Soccer issued a “report card” of sorts to the members of the South Ward.
Two groups passed, one will be punished.
After responding to the front office request to curb their use of the “YSA” chant with a demonstrative “Not For Sale” tifo, the Garden State Ultras have been hit with the first of what may be a series of punishments. Group privileges for flag poles, banners, smoke, tifo displays and Red Bull Arena day passes to set-up shop for matches have been indefinitely suspended by the club and league effective immediately.
In order to restore said privileges, the front office asks that GSU (specifically in section 133) change their stance on YSA throughout the month of August for both home and away fixtures while encouraging the elimination of the chant.
Both the Red Bulls supporter liaisons and the league office will be evaluating games and specifically analyzing section 133 for progress. Further punishments could include the elimination of drum usage, megaphones, capo stands in front of the south ward, TIFO reimbursement and discounted tickets for club usage.
The Red Bulls and MLS will reevaluate the GSU and the rest of the South Ward by the end of August.
The Viking Army and the Empire Supporters Club were issued identical letters of commendation from the Red Bulls and MLS. While both were thanked for their “effort this past month addressing YSA within The South Ward at Red Bull Arena,” the bulk of their two page address read more like a warning for continued progress than praise for their effort.
“While we look for further progress, we are satisfied and there will be no sanctions imposed,” the letter begins. It recaps the leagues demands, which include a “universal commitment to eliminate YSA and foul chants both at Red Bull Arena and on the road,” the initiation of a messaging campaign and public endorsement of YSA’s elimination and an effort to “energetically” overshadow the chant during goal kicks.
Overall, YSA has been noticeably muted. While elements within each of the supporters sections have stuck to their guns and continued the “YSA” chants, GSU was specifically marked for punishment for their failure to “demonstrate any commitment” towards the chants elimination. Whether the pockets of resistance within the remaining two groups subject the VA and ESC to future punishment is unclear. What can be said is that their initial compliance has saved both from a similar fate to their GSU comrades.
Interestingly, there is no word, mention or progress report on the proposed cash-for-compliance deal made by the Red Bulls in July offering $500 to each supporters group for every game they manage to eliminate “YSA” (made payable in $2,000 increments).