Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham has been fined 1,000 U.S. dollars by Major League Soccer (MLS) Commissioner Don Garber for his interaction with a fan at halftime of last Sunday's exhibition game against AC Milan.
"We support our players interacting with fans, whether it is at clinics, charity events or by high-fiving their supporters in the stands while celebrating a goal," Garber said. "However, our players should never engage in conduct that can be interpreted as encouraging fans to come out of the stands and onto the field, regardless of the reason."
Following the end of the first half, Beckham approached the portion of the stands where members of the L.A. Riot Squad, the team's most hardcore fans, sit, and gestured to a fan to come to him.
The fan, identified by Dominguez Hills officials as Joshua Paige of California State University, came out of the stands toward Beckham and was cited for trespassing, according to an officer from the university's police department, which provided security for the game.
"The fans were absolutely saying certain things that shouldn't be said to anybody," Beckham said after playing in Southern California for the first time in 2009.
"I walked over after the whistle and said, 'You need to calm down and try to support the team.' One of them jumped over and I thought it was to shake my hand, but maybe not."
Several fans told The San Diego Union-Tribune that Beckham gestured toward the fan and said "Come down here," followed by an expletive.
Coach-general manager Bruce Arena said later the team regretted the incident and that the L.A. Riot Squad has issued a lifetime ban to Paige.
Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham of England shoots on a free kick against the New York Red Bulls' during the first half of their Major League Soccer game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, July 16, 2009
Some Galaxy fans were upset that Beckham orchestrated an extension of his loan agreement to AC Milan from March through the May 31 end of the Series A season, causing him to miss the Galaxy's first 17 games of the 30- game Major League Soccer season.
Los Angeles Galaxy soccer player David Beckham (R) attends a press conference with his coach Bruce Arena (L) in Hoboken, New Jersey, July 15, 2009.
Boos clearly outnumbered cheers when Beckham was introduced before the game. Such signs as "Go home fraud" with a red slash through his No. 23 and "Hey Becks, Here Before You, Here After You, Here Despite You" were sprinkled among the capacity crowd of 27,000, the Galaxy's first sellout of the season.
Beckham drew cheers for assisting on both Galaxy goals in the 2-2 tie.
Beckham's next game in Southern California will be an Aug. 1 exhibition against Spanish champion FC Barcelona at the Rose Bowl.Source:Xinhua