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Toronto FC and Toronto Argonauts Fans Need to Stop the Bickering

All over the web and beyond there have been battle lines drawn between fans of the Toronto Argonauts and supporters of Toronto FC. The fact that they are at odds represents an imperfect understanding of the situation as it stands.

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They say the first step is acceptance, so for supporters of Toronto FC it's time to accept that the Toronto Argonauts are going to be tenants at BMO Field. That doesn't mean that the protests should stop, but it does mean understanding that they won't change this fact.

For fans of the Toronto Argonauts, the first step is also acceptance, accepting that for the majority of TFC supporters these protests have nothing to do with a hatred for them or their team.

This isn't about football vs. futbal for soccer supporters, it's about respect for the sport and team they have been supporting for eight long frustrating years.

Sure, there are factions of supporters on both sides who have made it just that: a battle of sports. There are those on the soccer side of things that aren't respecting the history of the Toronto Argonauts and the CFL, and there are those of the football side that aren't respecting the future soccer has in this country.

Not that the Argonauts don't have a future, most Toronto FC supporters would like to see nothing less. In fact the Argonauts and CFL provide hope for Canadian soccer: a successful professional sports league operated entirely out of Canada.

It is what many hope will be in the cards for the future of Canadian soccer as the country needs its own place to grow the game devoid of American influence. In fact there has already been talk of a partnership with the CFL to get this done, something already in effect in Hamilton.

Toronto FC supporters want the Argonauts to have a future, they just don't want to risk theirs in the process. For once this isn't soccer snobbery, of which plenty exists, having a pitch that is not up to standard is a legitimate concern and the crux of this argument.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment are waiving around the $3 million they have invested in a new pitch that is supposed to be ideal for the both teams. But the numbers mean nothing, because they have yet to be backed up by any evidence that soccer and football can co-exist on grass.

It's hard to explain this to football fans, because the two sports are so different. Here's an attempt: imagine the Argonauts had their own football stadium and a new tenant moved in that required the stadium change its specifications.

Part of these specifications were that all of the stands were raised in the air to allow wind flow at the ground level. This wind changed the way that the football moved through the air and caused injury concerns for players trying to change their movement at the last second.

That is what this could mean for Toronto FC and its players, and change the style of game they would have to play in their home stadium. The same can be said for the Canadian national soccer team, who are already searching for alternative venues just in case.

Toronto FC doesn't have an alternative venue, this is their house after all. Supporters feel that their house is being threatened, and are reacting like any good homeowner would: in protest.

Argonauts fans are reacting like anyone would that are moving into a new home where they don't feel accepted and don't understand why: they are lashing out at those who they feel are disrespecting them and their sport.

It's time for Argonauts fans to stop calling Toronto FC supporters whiners, because if the situations would be reversed you can bet they would be unhappy as well. Meanwhile, it's time for Toronto FC supporters to stop seeing the Argos as the enemy.

This situation isn't any more ideal for the Argonauts, they are the secondary tenant, or quaternary if Tim Leiweke is to be believed, in a stadium built and maintained for soccer. All of this as what is being billed as their last chance of survival.

The two groups of fans don't have to be against each other, united they can send a strong message to MLSE that their promise of a stadium beneficial for both needs to be kept.

If that does happen there is no reason that the reds and the double blue cannot co-exist peacefully at BMO Field. This isn't about Argos vs. Toronto FC, so people on both sides need to stop a meaningless conflict.