MLS can’t verify Taxi Fountas used slur; calls allegation ‘credible’

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DC United’s Taxi Fountas star will not face disciplinary action from the MLS after a league investigation found no convincing evidence he directed a racial slur at an opponent during a match September 18 at Audi Field.

The league said on Monday that Miami defender Aimé Mabika’s allegation was “credible” but it could not be “independently verified”. MLS also said it did not find credible “Fountas’ claim that he said nothing at the time – discriminatory or otherwise. Video of the incident clearly shows Mabika suddenly reacting to something he believes he heard from Fountas.”

As part of the investigation, the federation said it interviewed several people and reviewed video footage and audio recordings but was unable to determine “what the Foundation said at the time”.

Mabika accused Fountas of using the n-word in an incident with Damion Lowe in the second half. Lowe, Jamaican, and Mabika, Zambian, are black. Fountas, the Greek, is white.

Miami refuses to continue playing unless Fountas is removed from the game. United, coach Wayne Rooney mandatory.

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“I didn’t use the word I’m being accused of using,” Fountas wrote in an Instagram post a day later. “That despicable racial slur is something I denounce and do not use. We had a lively discussion on the field. But I don’t racially abuse anyone. I firmly reject racism in all its forms. It’s despicable.”

Referee Ismail Elfath told a pool reporter at the time that no officials had heard racist or abusive language and no one had been detected through video review.

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Following the previous schedule, Fountas then traveled to Greece to play twice for his national team. He was due to return to the state for the final two MLS games of the season, but citing the tense situation with Fountas and his family, Rooney gave him extra time off.

Fountas, United’s only all-star choice, has a contract until the end of the 2024 season. This year, he has scored a team-high 12 goals and added three assists in 21 appearances.

In a statement, United officials said they “appreciate and accept the results of the federation’s investigation, as well as the conclusion that the action in question cannot be confirmed after a number of interviews taking place.” out to the individuals involved in and near the incident.”

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MLS has interviewed Fountas at least twice, people familiar with the investigation said, and has reached out to United’s Christian Benteke and Ravel Morrison, who are black. Both were on the field at the time of the incident. Several Miami players were also interviewed.

Foottas was not available for comment on Monday, but one person who spoke to him said the player was “relieved and looking forward to returning.” Miami officials were not immediately available for comment.

MLS said it will re-examine its policies and practices regarding allegations of abusive language and discrimination.

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In a separate investigation, the MLS announced that it had fined United $25,000 for violating the league’s diversity recruitment policy prior to the club’s appointment of Rooney in July. The first violation will result in a fine of up to $50,000.

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As part of updated guidance set in December, teams were required to interview at least two candidates from underrepresented groups, including one Black candidate, for staff jobs. technicians, such as coaches and general managers. (Previous rules required a candidate from those groups.)

Starting with a list of at least five candidates, United spoke with a Black and Latino coach – both from abroad, a person close to the situation said – but one of the conversations it “cannot be considered a ‘final’ interview,” the federation said.

One candidate, United said in a statement, had gone through the same process as the others. However, the club added, he later told team officials that he would not be interested in a job starting mid-season.

“Having learned of this, the club has focused its attention on the final remaining contenders,” United said.

However, the federation said United “remains obligated to include an additional candidate from an underrepresented group in the ‘final pool’ or to request an exemption from the MLS detailing the extenuating circumstances of the ‘final pool’.” allow them to do so.”



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