MLS All Stars & AS Roma’s ‘Don’t Cross The Line’ Pledge

This year’s AT&T-sponsored MLS All Star Game sees the league link up with Italian guest team AS Roma to refresh its anti-discrimination initiative ‘Don’t Cross The Line’.


The campaign pledges zero tolerance for any form of discrimination, bias, prejudice or harassment.


As the All Star Weekend got underway, a revised spot featuring Roma superstar and captain Francesco Totti join the MLS’ Michael Bradley as the Italian club take the pledge to stand up for respect.



The new web film, which rolled out online on 28 July, is accompanied by outdoor, print and online executions featuring both Italian and American footballers and the crests of both AS Roma and the MLS.


Further work was carried out by players and fans throughout All Star Weekend – including player pledging and further web film work.



The ‘Don’t Cross the Line’ campaign promotes unity, respect, fair play, equality and acceptance throughout the soccer community and was initially launched by MLS to formalise its long-standing commitment to diversity while also promoting the importance of positive behaviour at all levels of the game.


It was initially launched through a video fronted by a set of key MLS star players (including LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane, New York Red Bull’s Thierry Henry and Seattle Sounders’ Eddie Johnson) pledging:



And through the 2013 season to date MLS has run the campaign during TV game coverage, on in-stadium video screens, across outdoor sites and pitch-side billboards, as well as online at http://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsworks/dontcrosstheline.


On 10 July, All Star opponents AS Roma adopted the initiative, encouraging the Italian soccer community to ‘Take The Pledge’ to treat others with dignity and respect and not tolerate discrimination, bias, prejudice or harassment.


Throughout All Star Week, the MLS is encouraging fans and amateur players to Take a Stand for Soccer and pledge to end discrimination.


‘Don’t Cross the Line’ campaign ambassadors will also be positioned throughout the Power & Light district of Kansas City (which will host the weekend central fan festival), as well as around the Kansas City encouraging fans to support the campaign.


The first 300 fans to Take the Pledge each day will receive a ‘Don’t Cross the Line’ scarf or t-shirt.


For the main All Star Game partner – title sponsor AT&T, plus Blackberry – Kansas City’s Power & Light District will be the hub of fan-facing experiential activity. The KC Live! Stage is be the focal point for the event’s fan festival – which stretches across several days and include concerts, competitions, and parties. The aim is to highlighting Kansas City flavours, sounds, and sensibilities, through a celebration of local culture to amplify the All-Star message.


To kick off proceedings, AT&T and BlackBerry bring football fans a performance from the hip-hop stars Macklemore – which they will amplify via a live at http://www.mlssoccer.com/all-star/2013/macklemore-live


The MLS All-Stars themselves will collectively take the pledge on Monday after training at Sporting Kansas City’s training facility at Swope Park and will join AS Roma in wearing a commemorative “Don’t Cross the Line” patch on their kits on game day.


All fans attending the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game itself are also being encouraged to arrive early to Take the Pledge in Soccer Celebration – an outdoor festival featuring interactive events for fans, soccer-themed games, sponsor giveaways, and more, before heading into the stadium for a special “Don’t Cross the Line” pre-game activation.




With the issue of racist abuse a major issue in Italian football last season, combined with LA Galaxy’s Robbie Robert’s becoming the first openly gay player this season, the MLS/Roma combination for ‘Don’t Cross The Line’ seems more pertinent and important than ever.


The MLS campaign initially rolled out in Autumn 2012 as a commitment to support all the communities where the league operates, lives and plays the games by providing an environment in which staff, clubs, players, partners and supporters are all treated with dignity and respect.


Interestingly, a previous UK-based grass roots football ‘Don’t X The Line’ campaign celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013.


This campaign was founded by Mal Lee, who has been involved with amateur football for more than 20 years. After years of witnessing first hand aggression and violence to referees and other players, verbal abuse, racist comments, bullying, and even the smoking of illegal drugs on the touchlines decided something needed to be done.



Initially it targeted amateur and junior football, but in 2004 it began working with Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs (who both offered official club approval, financial support, use of club logos and museum tours for the teams and spectators who showed the best sportsmanship throughout the season within their leagues.




Campaign Website



Core MLS Campaign Film YouTube



Updated MLS Roma All Star Campaign Film



MLS Twitter


MLS Facebook



‘Don’t X The Line’ Campaign Website



‘Don’t X The Line’ Campaign YouTube Film



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