When the Vancouver Whitecaps FC opens the gates at BC Place for the first home game of the season Sunday, fans are going to notice something different before they even take their seats: mandatory pat downs by security staff.
The new policy — put in place across Major League Soccer — is not going over well with female fans like Joann Bessler, who has been going to 'Caps' games regularly since 2000.
"I think the waits are going to be longer or I'm going to have to put up with a man patting me down," she said. "I'm flabbergasted."
BC Place provides security for the games and Whitecaps FC says it has been assured there will be at least one woman staffing each gate for the pat downs.
"The league is responding to world events to ensure we're doing everything we can so that fans are safe," said Whitecaps director Tom Plasteras.
Not a necessity, says fan
Still decades-long fans like John Knox say the policy is over-kill for a stadium like BC Place.
"I don't think there is anyone in Vancouver saying they feel unsafe going into this venue, I don't see a necessity for this."
The team has increased seating capacity for its matches from 21,000 to 22,120 for most regular season games and up to 25,000 for the most popular West Coast rivalry games against L.A., Portland and Seattle.
To help fans make the new security measures run as quickly as possible the team released this lengthy FAQ page, which reminds fans to discard prohibited items before getting to the front of the line and even to seek out less busy entry gates as A and H are the most popular.