As is always the case when the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC meet in the 401 derby, several away supporters will be making the trip to Saputo Stadium for tonight's match. After all, the derby itself is named after Ontario's major highway, the 401 which fans take up from Toronto to get to Montreal and down from Montreal to arrive in Toronto.
But one Toronto FC supporters group will not be making the trip, at least in an official capacity. The Inebriatti supporter's group were informed only 36 hours before today's match by Montreal Impact front office that they have been banned from the match. All supporters identified as Inebriatti will be ejected from the stadium.
It has been a tough start to the season for the supporter's group that rarely strays far from controversy. After using flairs to cause damage to Saputo Stadium in October of last year, the Inebriatti was sanctioned by Major League Soccer. Toronto FC supporters were not given supporter privileges for the first four road games of the year. The Inebriatti, a group that can be found in section 114 of the south end of BMO Field, lost supporter privileges for the season's first two home matches.
This time, they have been banned from attending the match at Saputo Stadium because they did not comply with a previous ban issued on April 23 when Toronto FC played against the Montreal Impact on the road. The problem being, according to the Inebriatti they were not told about this ban by either club's front office.
The match was not included in the original email sent by the Toronto FC front office to the Inebriatti, and other Toronto FC supporter's group, detailing their loss of supporter's privileges. No evidence has been shown to suggest that they should have known that this travelling ban had been put in place.
Regardless, 36 hours before an away match hardly seems like a fair amount of time to let a supporters group know that they have been banned from a match. In a post on their Facebook page, the Inebriatti outlined how many of their members have already spent money and booked off work to attend this match.
The Inebriatti certainly deserved to be punished for their actions during last year's 401 derby. Their actions cost all Toronto FC fans a chance to travel down in an official capacity to the season opener. However, by and large, they have already paid for this crime.
By all accounts, they, as well as other Toronto FC supporters, were well behaved during the first trip to Montreal. As one would expect, the punishment for again causing problems in Montreal likely would have been severe. But they are still paying the price for that trip.
Other Toronto FC supporters are still expected to make the trip for tonight's semi-final match in the Voyageurs Cup. The visiting Toronto side currently lead the tie 4-2, and are looking to beat the Impact in this competition for the first time in four years.