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Two men facing charges after fan hurt by flare at TFC game

The Canadian Press

4/23/2009 3:00:56 PM

TORONTO -- Two men are facing charges after a female fan was injured by a flare thrown from the stands at Toronto FC's game against Chivas USA on Wednesday.

Toronto police said two flares were thrown from the stands at BMO Field at the Major League Soccer game. One landed on a woman's thigh, burning through her pants and causing a burn to her thigh. The other landed on the artificial turf, causing approximately $2,000 damage.

A sellout crowd of 19,915 was at the game.

Andjelo Franjic, 18, of Stoney Creek, Ont., and a 17-year-old, also of Stoney Creek, whose name cannot be released are charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and mischief under $5,000, police said in a statement.

"It's really disappointing," said Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "Flares have been strictly prohibited since Day 1 at the building."

Anselmi noted fans helped alert security about the flare incident.

"Our fans have been terrific. If you read some of the stuff in the chat forums right now, they're the ones helping to self-police.

"But stuff like that, there just no room for that. That's dangerous and stupid and we're just not going to put up with it."

Toronto, in its third season, has won league-wide positive recognition for its fervent fans. But there have been some instances of fan misbehaviour this season.

The issue arose at a Toronto game in Columbus last month when there were several arrests and one man was tasered. And at the home opener against Seattle, several beers and a lighter were thrown in the direction of Sounder players.

MLS issued a "Fan Code of Conduct prior" to this season, which states in part that "Major League Soccer is committed to creating a safe, comfortable and enjoyable soccer experience for all guests in and around our stadiums."