David Pearson, 43, of Vancouver has been charged with one count of mischief, and been banned from the stadium for life.
Setting off flares during soccer matches is a controversial but common occurrence in Europe and other parts of the world, but Vancouver Whitecaps COO Rachel Lewis says soccer culture in Canada doesn't condone this kind of behaviour.
“We've worked hard in North America to separate ourselves from some of the hooliganism you see in Europe and other parts of the world, and take some of the great parts of the game, the fan celebrations, the chanting, the cheering... and bring it to North America,” Lewis said.
Pearson allegedly placed the lit flare under an unoccupied seat in a busy section of the stadium’s second level seating area.
Security put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but a number of fans suffered breathing difficulties as a result of the flare's smoke. One woman was transported to hospital and has since been released.
"This individual obviously worked very hard to get a flare in the stadium and we are trying to determine if something needs to change in our policies and procedures to ensure this doesn't happen again,” Lewis said.
Pearson is expected to appear again in court on Aug. 16.Suggest a correction