KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Major League Soccer suspended Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez without pay for the rest of the season Friday for violating the league’s gambling integrity rules and standards of conduct.
MLS said Hernandez engaged in extensive and unlawful sports gambling, including placing wagers on two MLS matches, in direct contravention of league rules.
MLS said it initiated an investigation July 5 after Hernandez disclosed to Sporting Kansas City that he was concerned about his personal safety due to gambling debts. The league said it and the team “immediately took steps to refer the matter to law enforcement and ensure that Hernandez received necessary support and counseling.”
Hernandez tweeted a statement Friday.
“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,” he wrote.
Hernandez had already been suspended since July pending completion of the MLS and law enforcement investigations. Born in Colombia and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, the 23-year-old Hernandez had had a goal and two assists in six games this season.
MLS said Hernandez placed online bets on two MLS matches, though Sporting K.C. was did not play in either game. It said no evidence was found that Hernandez possessed confidential or otherwise non-public information concerning those two matches.
Hernandez will eligible for reinstatement Jan. 1.
MLS suspends Felipe Hernandez for gambling violations