Inter Miami coach Phil Neville said he was “disappointed” by the results of the Major League Soccer investigation into allegations that the DC United striker Taxi Fontas had racially abused one of his players. Neville added that the team is “in talks” to see if Miami can challenge the findings of the investigation.
The league conducted the investigation following the September 18 match between the two teams after Miami defender Aimee Mabeka said Fontas had directed slander at Miami Lowe in the roughly 59th minute. Fountas was replaced shortly thereafter and did not play again for United for the remainder of the season.
Fontas later denied the allegations Via his Instagram account.
– MLS describes Fontas’ allegations as credible, and lacks evidence of a fine
MLS announced the results of the investigation on October 31, stating that since it could not independently verify what Fountas said, no fine would be imposed on the DC attacker. This was despite the fact that MLS found Mabeka’s allegations “credible”.
That wasn’t good enough for Neville.
“I trust my players,” Neville said during a press conference to announce the extension of his contract with the club. “I feel as though racism is an important topic and one that we can’t hide away, and we can’t just sweep under the table.
“I think we’re over that now and I feel as if it was clear at the time that there were accusations and I fully support my players. And to this day I still bring my players back, that racism happened in that stadium.”
Neville added that Miami players share his disappointment, including Mabeka, Louie, Diandre Yadlin and Gregor. Neville added that the organization would not let it go.
“We’re in talks at the moment to see if we can appeal the decision,” Neville said.
A request for suspension from MLS was not immediately successful, but a source familiar with the situation said Inter Miami were having “informal conversations” about the findings of the investigation and the best way forward.
When asked to clarify his observations, and if the fallout from the League’s investigation is the ongoing situation, Neville said the organization would take a strong stand against racism.
“The only thing I can say that will continue is that Inter Miami, as a football club, will be really strong on issues like this,” Neville said. “We will not shy away from issues like this. We will not sweep things under the rug on issues like this because I think this is a societal problem.
“I think this is a problem all over the world that you can’t hide from and that we have zero tolerance for any kind of racism and that will continue at Inter Miami Football Club.”