MLS: No discipline for Fountas, can't corroborate claim
NEW YORK (AP) D.C. United forward Taxi Fountas will not be disciplined by Major League Soccer after the league said it found credible an allegation he used racially abusive language toward Miami defender Aime Mabika during a match on Sept. 18 but could not find corroborating evidence.
The league said in a statement Monday that it "could not independently verify the allegation" but it "did not find credible Fountas' claim, made during interviews conducted as part of this investigation, that he said nothing in that moment - discriminatory or otherwise."
"Video of the incident clearly shows Mabika suddenly reacting to something he believed he heard from Fountas," the league said. "MLS was unable to confirm independently, through additional eyewitness accounts, video footage or audio recordings, what Fountas said in that moment, as has been the league's long-standing practice in determining player discipline for these types of allegations."
Fontas agreed to remain away from the team during its final two games on Oct. 1 and Oct. 9. The league said he is eligible to play for D.C. next season.
"MLS plans to examine its policies and practices as they relate to allegations of abusive and discriminatory language and is committed to working with all of the stakeholders during this offseason," the league said.
Separately, MLS fined D.C. United $25,000 for failure to comply fully with the league's diversity hiring policy when Wayne Rooney replaced Hernan Losada as coach in July. The league said its policy requires "the finalist pool includes two or more candidates from underrepresented groups, whereby at least one candidate must be either Black or African-American."
MLS said D.C. met with two qualifying candidates from underrepresented groups, but one could not be considered a "finalist pool" interview because the team learned during the interview that the individual was not available to pursue the job.
"The club remained obligated to bring an additional candidate from an underrepresented group into the `finalist pool' or request a waiver from MLS detailing the extenuating circumstances," the league said.
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Updated November 1, 2022