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You Can’t Bring Your Purse to Audi Field. Unless You Carry It in A Clear Bag.

A security policy for the times.
Yeah, this works. Photo by Emma Sarappo.

The policy seems simple: If you want to bring certain items into DC United’s Audi Field, they have to be in a clear bag. You can also bring a small, opaque clutch or purse no larger than 6.5″ x 4.5″. If your opaque clutch is too big, you can’t bring it in … unless you put it in a slightly larger, clear bag. Then it’s good to go.

The club rolled out a clear bag policy for Audi Field in July. Similar rules have spread across the country in the past few years, most notably by the NFL, which began rolling out its “All Clear” policy in 2013. The policy is also commonplace in college athletic fields and stadiums. FedEx Field keeps the clear bag policy in effect for concerts and other events. Clear bags aren’t required at Capital One Arena or Nationals Park.

So DC United isn’t alone, but some fans still don’t get the logic behind the rules. Chris Miller, a DC veterinarian, tweeted about women with too-large bags being turned away at the last home game on Wednesday:

A DC United spokesperson confirmed that the confusing loophole part of Miller’s tweet—putting purses inside clear Ziplock bags—is Audi Field’s policy. When asked why, he said, “It’s to ensure that all items are all contained within one clear bag.”

Items like cell phones and cameras can also be carried into the stadium by hand or pocket—as long as they’re not in an unapproved bag. The spokesperson said that all attendees are screened at the gate. You can’t bring more than one clutch, though, so that’s not a workaround.

It follows the letter of the law: all items must be contained inside a clear bag, full stop. However, to anyone under the impression the clear bag policy was implemented so all items could be seen, it’s a bit of a doozy—covering a small clutch with a clear plastic bag doesn’t increase visibility. (It doesn’t reduce visibility either, so…) Additionally, there’s no rule against taking it out of the plastic bag once you enter the stadium.

Although the logic is fuzzy, it’s not actually much of a barrier for fans trying to enter Audi Field. DC United provides free gallon plastic bags at the turnstiles, so if your clutch is slightly oversized, you don’t need to get out of line to get in. Just pop it into the bag provided and you’re good to go. Your item is now “contained within one clear bag.”

The United spokesman stressed that although the clear bag policy had a bumpy roll-out, the club has worked hard to improve communication with fans, and getting into Audi Field is getting easier and easier.

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Editorial Fellow

Emma Sarappo is an editorial fellow at Washingtonian. Her work has appeared in Tonic, PlanetForward, PopSci.com and The Bitter Southerner. She is from Nashville and never stops talking about it, and loves covering anything that takes itself too seriously.