Sporting KC’s Felipe Hernandez On ‘Leave’ Over MLS Gambling Violation

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Sporting KC's Felipe Hernandez On 'Leave' Over MLS Gambling Violation

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez has been placed on administrative leave following a report the player violated the league’s gambling policies, Major League Soccer (MLS) said in a statement Friday.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez was suspended in 2021 for betting on two MLS matches

This would mark the second time Hernandez has violated such policies, having been suspended in 2021 when it was discovered he had bet on two MLS matches. No evidence was found that Hernandez ever bet on an MLS match involving his own team. Hernandez was reinstated in January of 2022.

The league said in its statement Friday that Hernandez also violated the terms of that reinstatement. An MLS spokesperson confirmed to ESPN that an investigation is underway.

The MLS launched its investigation in July 2021 after Hernandez revealed that he informed Sporting Kansas City of his gambling activities. He said he was concerned for his personal safety due to his gambling debts.

The Columbian-born Hernandez also disclosed that he had undergone treatment for a gambling addiction.

Following his reinstatement, Hernandez made 38 league and cup appearances with SKC in 2022. In 34 MLS games in the 2022 season, the 5-foot-8 central midfielder scored two goals and recorded three assists.

His performances led to a contract extension through 2025 with an option for 2026.

Hernandez has scored four goals, notched five assists in 76 MLS games

“This is an opportunity for him, it’s a second opportunity,” Sporting KC manager and sporting director Peter Vermes told reporters after Hernandez’s reinstatement in January 2022. “He’s got to be smart about it and I think he will be. We’re providing him with all the assistance that he’s needed.

“He’s got to try and get back into the form that he left the team last year with. …. He was actually in great form. [This is] his best soccer he’s been playing.”

Overall, Hernandez has appeared in 76 MLS games for Sporting KC, scoring four goals with five assists.

As of 2024, Hernandez has made nine league and cup appearances with the first team, while making a single appearance with Sporting Kansas City II, SKC’s reserve team.

In European soccer, Brentford striker Ivan Toney was banned for eight months over betting allegations. Italy’s midfielder, Sandro Tonali, was also issued a 10-month ban in October 2023 for betting on Serie A matches.