DC UNITED manager Wayne Rooney subbed one of his players off after allegations he used a racial slur against an Inter Miami player.
DC took on David Beckham’s club in a crunch MLS clash at the Audi Field which saw Inter pick up a dramatic 3-2 win on stoppage time.
But the game was overshadowed after 59 minutes when a scuffle occurred between the hosts’ striker Taxiarchis Fountas and the visitors’ Damion Lowe.
Miami ace Aime Mabika then also reacted angrily at Fountas with referee Ismail Elfath cautioning both the Greek player and Lowe.
But the ref then proceeded to confer with both teams’ captains as well as Rooney and Inter manager Phil Neville.
Following a delay of several minutes, the game continued when Fountas was taken off the pitch on 66 minutes.
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Miami star DeAndre Yedlin later said Lowe was walking away after a tussle with Fountas when “the guy called him the n-word”.
The visitors then refused to play until “something was done with that player”.
Yedlin said: “Damion and another player got into a bit of a scuffle – as Damion walks away, one of their guys called him the n-word.”
Neville backed the ex-Tottenham ace’s claims in his post-match interview as he stated the “worst word in the world” was used during the game.
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The Manchester United hero insisted the “unacceptable” incident needs to be addressed.
Neville said: “We need to address an issue that maybe in the past was swept under the carpet, but we’re a club that is proud of our diversity and inclusion in our staff and supporters, and there is no place at all for racism on a football field or society.
“A word was used that is unacceptable in society. It is the worst word in the world.”
Neville’s former United team-mate Rooney didn’t get into detail after the incident.
But the legendary striker confirmed there was a “complaint” that will be investigated.
Rooney said: “There was a complaint, which I’m sure will get investigated. Not much more I can say.”
According to The Athletics’ reporter Pablo Iglesias Maurer, Fountas has denied using the alleged slur.
However, the MLS confirmed they are going to investigate the incident as there is “zero tolerance” for such abusive language.
An official statement from the league read: “MLS has zero tolerance for abusive and offensive language and we take these allegations very seriously.
“An investigation into this matter will begin promptly. Further information will be provided upon completion of that investigation.”
DC United also confirmed they will “work closely” with both the MLS as well as Inter Miami to resolve the issue.
A club statement read: “D.C. United are aware of the allegations involving a player during the match against Inter Miami CF.
“The club will work closely with Major League Soccer and Inter Miami to investigate the incident.”