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Union Omaha changes noisemaker policy after fan incident

Group of fans kicked out of game last Saturday
Posted at 8:00 PM, Sep 21, 2020

PAPILLION, Neb. — An incident at Werner Park at last Saturday's soccer game has caused some controversy regarding Union Omaha and some fans. The incident also lead to the changing of game day policy for fans.

"We feel really bad of course about the way it all went down. Everyone involved does," Union Omaha chief operating officer Matt Homonoff said.

During the game there was miscommunication between security and fans about what noisemakers are and aren't allowed. Previous Union Omaha policy was that no noisemakers were allowed during games at all. However, the policy wasn't clear, since handheld noisemakers are actually allowed. It's the horns that are banned to prevent spread of germs.

"The rule was intended to specifically ban horns. Things you can blow through and could obviously pass germs on. What we didn't account for and which we take full responsibility for are handheld noisemakers," Homonoff said.

A specific group of fans belonging to the Union Omaha fan club, Omaha Parliament, were singled out for using both horns and handheld noisemakers and were kicked out.

"The escalation of the situation came from a lack of signage. On clarifying what was a prohibited item and what was allowed in," Omaha Parliament vice president Chip Nelsen said.

Since other fans had handheld noisemakers and only this specific group was kicked out, members of Omaha Parliament left the game in protest. But the club has acknowledged that the situation shouldn't of escalated like it did, and offered up policy changes to prevent a similar situation in the future.

"Noisemakers that do not project air will be allowed inside the stadium at all times. Two, there's going to be increased signage in both English and Spanish as well as a clarification of the policy at all gates. Three, the people involved with the incident have actually been invited to the next game and the owner Gary Green is actually flying in and hosting them in the owners box for the next game," Nelsen said.