Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez was suspended without pay for the rest of 2021 Friday after Major League Soccer discovered he had bet on league matches.
“Hernandez engaged in extensive and unlawful sports gambling while a member of Sporting Kansas City that included placing wagers on two MLS matches, in direct contravention of league rules,” MLS said in a release.
MLS said Hernandez revealed his issue to Sporting Kansas City in July because he became “concerned about his personal safety due to his gambling debts.” From there, the club and the league brought the matter to law enforcement.
According to MLS, an independent investigation concluded that Hernandez never bet on his own team’s matches, and “no evidence was found that Hernandez possessed confidential or otherwise non-public information concerning those two MLS matches.” The league added that it found no evidence that any other players were involved and no matches were thrown.
Hernandez is eligible to apply for reinstatement to the league as early as Jan. 1, 2022.
“This summer, I stepped away from soccer — the game that means so much to me — and began receiving treatment for a gambling addiction,” Hernandez said in a statement. “Over the last several months, I have been able to reassess, take responsibility for my actions and get the proper care for something that has greatly affected me …
“… I look forward to doing everything possible to get back on the field and will work harder than ever to help Sporting K.C. achieve its goals. I will not make any further comments at this time while I focus on my commitment to taking all the steps necessary to make a healthy return.”
— Felipe Hernandez (@Fe1ipe98) October 8, 2021
Hernandez, a 23-year-old from Colombia, appeared in six games (four starts) this season and recorded his first career MLS goal along with two assists. He’s played in 24 games for Sporting K.C. since 2017, making 13 starts.
Sporting K.C. is currently battling with the Seattle Sounders for first place in the Western Conference as the regular season heads down its home stretch.
–Field Level Media