What would have been the Chattanooga Football Club's first home match with fans permitted to attend this year has been postponed.
Chattanooga FC was set to host New Amsterdam FC for its third of four matches in the National Independent Soccer Association's Eastern Conference fall schedule on Saturday night at Finley Stadium. However, New Amderstam, which is from New York City, has "declined to make the trip to play the game as a statement of support for racial justice and against police brutality."
Athletes and teams across professional and college sports have made similar decisions regarding games and practices in recent days, with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks touching off the movement in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The NBA playoffs are set to resume Saturday.
In a release announcing the postponement, CFC said that it "respects this decision made by New Amsterdam and their players."
After making its professional and NISA debut on the road in late February, CFC had to wait some five months to return to competition as the league suspended play due to the coronavirus pandemic. CFC went 3-0 to win the Independent Cup's Southeast Region title, with all of those matches at Finley Stadium but without fans, and split a pair of matches in the Detroit area this month as part of the NISA fall schedule.
CFC said it intended to use its first home match of the year with spectators to address the same matters that led New Amsterdam to not play this weekend. CFC's next scheduled match is against the New York Cosmos on Sept. 12 at Finley Stadium.
"Our club's mission is to use soccer as a tool to build community, forging strong relationships across age, race, creed, and socio-economic status for the greater good of our city," CFC's release read. "Consistent with that mission, our players planned to make a public statement on Saturday night to convey their thoughts and feelings on the recent tragic events in our country. While New Amsterdam's approach differs from our approach, we fully respect it.
"Chattanooga FC looks forward to taking the field again soon in pursuit of our mission statement, allowing our players to play the game they love, and providing them an opportunity to speak to our community about these events in an appropriate context and manner. #BlackLivesMatter"
Compiled by Marty Kirkland. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.