TORONTO, Canada—The Supporters’ Shield Foundation, ‘created to fund, promote, and protect the Supporters’ Shield’ according to their official website, says that there will not be a Supporters’ Shield awarded to the team that accumulates the most points at the end of the 2020 season.
As it stands, that team is currently Toronto FC—with five games to play.
The Foundation, responsible for overseeing the Shield’s intellectual property and restricting commercial use of the award, released a statement Saturday afternoon, stating that the decision to forego the 2020 award was not an easy one to make.
An announcement from the Supporters' Shield Foundation board: pic.twitter.com/JSF8mmUXFp— Supporters' Shield Foundation (@SupporterShield) October 17, 2020
As it stands, it is unclear if MLS will formally honour the regular season winner with something beyond home field advantage, prize money, and
a CCL Champions League Spot.
They did, however, release the folllowing statement!
Major League Soccer has been notified by the Independent Supporters Council of their decision to not award the Supporters’ Shield this season.
Everyone involved in MLS understands that the 2020 season — like every major professional sports league — was unprecedented in our history. The club that finishes at the top of our regular season will have persevered through a highly challenging year. As in previous seasons, this team will be the top seed in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, earn a berth in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League and receive the bonus that goes to the club that finishes first overall in the regular season standings. Most of all, the millions of people who follow and support our league, teams and players will always remember the club that finished as 2020 MLS regular season leader.
From a Toronto FC perspective, the news is obviously extremely disappointing. The Reds previously hoisted the award back in 2017 as part of the league’s first-ever treble and were on the verge of repeating that feat in 2020. But without supporters attending games, you can sort of understand why the integrity of the award would be compromised. But come on, didn’t they hear that 5,000 fans would be in attendance at Toronto FC’s final home game!?
Needless to say, in the hours since breaking the news, The Supporters’ Shield Foundation has received an overwhelming amount of kickback on social media. Moreover, according to Duane Rollins Sunday morning, there’s a lot going on ‘behind the scenes’ in an effort to push back against the Foundation’s decision.
The icing on the cake came Sunday afternoon when TSN’s Kristian Jack shared comments from Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney, which I can only describe as candid.
Join us for Toronto FC vs Atlanta United at 7pm on TSN1/4 tonight where we will address the decision not to award the Supporters Shield in 2020 to the best MLS team.— Kristian Jack (@KristianJack) October 18, 2020
I just spoke to Toronto FC boss Greg Vanney about this decision and here is some of what he had to say. #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/77NcVlru6b
“My players are pissed,” Vanney told KJ. “It is a huge sign of disrespect to the players. It has arguably been the most difficult season in the history of our league where people have put their health at risk to play & put games on television for fans. This season has required a huge commitment from all teams—people were genuinely afraid for their health.
“It is a disgraceful decision that delegitimizes the whole idea of the Shield in our opinion,” Vanney continued. “Those who made the decision are like kids in a park who take the ball away when the game isn’t going their way. It’s childish and a symbol that they don’t know how sports operates.”
I’ll turn this over to you all. How do we feel about this?