Dear Whitecaps fans,
For those of you that attended Saturday evening's match versus Puerto Rico Islanders at Swangard Stadium, you witnessed one of the most eventful match nights in Whitecaps history.
As I said in our post-match report, I cannot ever recall hearing and seeing that amount of thunder and lightning in this region - much less during a Whitecaps match.
In what continues to be an interesting season for the club, we at least came away with an important three points, as we look to build momentum through the second half of the season. If you haven't seen the highlights, I encourage you to visit them on the Whitecaps YouTube channel - CLICK HERE. In addition, 'Caps Cru volunteer extraordinaire Nick Lum captured this amazing clip of lightning touching down directly onto the pitch - CLICK HERE.
With that said, I want to express my sincere regret for any inconvenience Saturday's delayed match may have caused. Of course, we cannot control the weather, but we were resolute in ensuring that our fans were safe and that issues surrounding the quality of their experience were mitigated.
When a match is under threat due to inclement weather conditions, the referee must follow specific guidelines that are set forth by world soccer's governing body, FIFA. More specifically, the referee must suspend play when lightning and its corresponding thunder are separated by less than 30 seconds. Following that, play cannot resume until 30 minutes have passed between the last incident of thunder. Match referee John Oliva followed these guidelines and we tried our best to communicate this to the fans in attendance.
Unfortunately, some of Swangard Stadium's audio equipment failed under the adverse conditions, so we had to rely on updates through limited audio equipment and word-of-mouth. Our event staff, security, and volunteers did their best to keep fans well informed, but it was no doubt a challenging evening. Nevertheless, we have had a chance to debrief as a staff and we are better prepared should this ever happen again. We are also speaking with officials from the United Soccer Leagues regarding their policies on such incidents and how they might be improved for the future.
We take pride in the close relationship we have with all of you, and a positive match experience is a critical part of our continued growth. Although we attempted to address all of our fans' concerns, we accept the reality that some fans left the stadium unhappy. We encourage anyone who has outstanding issues to please contact the Whitecaps front office at 604.669.WAVE (9283) during regular business hours and we will be happy to discuss these matters further with you.
I thank you for your support of the Whitecaps this season and I look forward to seeing you at Swangard in the near future.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC