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Fans to be searched at Orlando City games

MLS to begin pat downs, wand screenings at soccer matches

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fans attending games at Major League Soccer venues, including the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, will be subject to pat down searches or screenings with wands starting Saturday.

New security guidelines announced Tuesday by the league also prohibit large purses, coolers, briefcases, backpacks and other large bags. Bags will also be subject to searches.

Ray Whitworth, senior vice president of security and operations, said the updated measures will bring MLS in line with other professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.

Under the new policy, each venue will decide which screening measure -- pat downs or wands -- is used. The security procedures will apply to all soccer games at MLS venues, not just league games.

Citrus Bowl officials told News 6 that it was already in compliance with the policy, routinely using pat downs and frequently wanding guests. The new policy, however, will require all fans to go through the extra security measures, which could mean longer lines to get into Orlando City matches.

"As always, the safety and security of our patrons is our top priority," said Kirk Wingerson of Orlando Venues, which represents the Citrus Bowl.

The Orlando City Soccer Club's next home game is Friday, May 6, versus the New York Red Bulls.