Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez had the length of his suspension formally announced on Friday after he violated the Major League Soccer gambling integrity rules and standards of conduct earlier this year by betting on MLS matches.
Hernandez reported to team and league officials that he was worried about his personal safety as a result of gambling debts back on July 5. A follow-up investigation found evidence that Hernandez had bet on two MLS matches and the league has now decided to suspend him for the rest of 2021 without pay.
The league had suspended him indefinitely pending an independent investigation, which found that the 23-year-old had engaged in “extensive and unlawful sports gambling” while with Sporting KC, including online bets on two MLS matches that did not involve his team.
No evidence was found that Hernandez bet on Sporting KC matches, but he still violated the league’s gambling rules by placing bets on league games. The investigators also failed to find any evidence that Hernandez possessed inside information or impacted the integrity of the matches that he wagered on.
Hernandez cooperated fully with the league’s investigation and will have to meet certain directives and standards, along with continued counseling for his gambling problem.
The investigation found that no other MLS players had engaged in illegal, unlawful gambling or had bet on league matches.
Hernandez will be eligible for reinstatement on January 1, 2022.