REVEALED: DC United broke MLS' diversity rules by hiring Wayne Rooney

REVEALED: DC United broke MLS’ diversity hiring rules by appointing Wayne Rooney as their manager after not interviewing an ‘underrepresented group’ candidate – and are fined $25k

  • DC United have been fined $25,000 over the hiring process for Wayne Rooney
  • DC failed to interview enough candidates from ‘underrepresented groups’
  • Rooney was appointed in July after one other candidate for the role withdrew
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DC United has been fined $25,000 by Major League Soccer for failing to comply with their ‘diversity hiring policy’ when Wayne Rooney was appointed as head coach.

MLS require clubs to make sure ‘the finalist pool’ for a major role ‘includes two or more candidates from underrepresented groups, whereby at least one candidate must be either Black or African-American’. DC failed to do so.

Rooney, who played for the club late in his playing days before being appointed as their manager in July of this year, was hired – but one of his rivals for the role could not be considered a ‘finalist pool’ interview because DC 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,’ an MLS statement today said.

It compounds a miserable year for Manchester United and England legend Rooney, who ended the regular season with DC rock-bottom of MLS’s Eastern Conference.

Wayne Rooney is unveiled as DC United manager in July – but the club broke hiring rules

Rooney is pictured with wife Coleen and their family on a trip to the Statue of Liberty – and in his glory days alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United

A DC United statement read: ‘DC United respect Major League Soccer’s decision in regard to the club’s process of hiring its new head coach earlier this season.

‘DC United have made it a fundamental practice to prioritize interviewing candidates from underrepresented groups for all leadership positions, inclusive of coaches, across the organization. This practice has resulted in the club having one of the most diverse leadership groups across Major League Soccer.’

Rooney has also spent significant time at the side of wife Coleen this year, in a libel trial with the wife of Wayne’s former England teammate Jamie Vardy.

This week, the couple were pictured winding down on a holiday in Dubai, where Rooney suffered a cut head on a boozy night out when he was hit by a flying plate thrown by his youngest son, Cass.

Rooney and his DC United team finished rock-bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference

This week Rooney was pictured with a head wound sustained during a boozy night out in Dubai, caused by a flying plate thrown by his youngest son Cass 

Separately, DC United forward Taxi Fountas will not be disciplined after the league said it found credible an allegation he used racially abusive language toward Inter Miami defender Aime Mabika during a match on September 18 but could not find corroborating evidence.

The league said in a statement 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 October 1 and October 9. The league said he is eligible to play for DC 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.

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