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MLS investigation into alleged racist comment inconclusive

Portland Timbers

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 01: Minnesota United midfielder Osvaldo Alonso clears a through pass aimed at Portland Timbers midfielder Yimmi Chara during the 3-1 defeat of the Portland Timbers by Minnesota United on March 1, 2020, at Providence Park, Portland, OR (Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Major League Soccer was unable to corroborate an allegation that a racial comment was directed at Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara during a game against Minnesota United.

The league said Monday that while its investigation found the allegation was made in good faith, it “could not corroborate or refute the allegation.”

Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said after Portland’s 1-0 loss to Minnesota on June 26 that a “discriminatory word” had been used by a Loons player toward Chara, who is Black and from Colombia.

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Minnesota United issued a statement Monday reiterating its commitment to “inclusion, equality and respect.”

“We appreciate and fully supported the thorough investigation by MLS, whose findings mirror our own review of the situation. Our club remains committed to spreading the values inherent in the unparalleled global sport of soccer throughout our broader community. We will continue the hard work necessary on our shared journey towards a truly inclusive and just society,” the statement said.

A day after the game, the Professional Referee Organization, which manages the officiating crews for MLS matches, said the referee did not witness or hear the alleged abuse.

The league said its investigation included interviews with players and the official. It also examined all video and audio from the match.

“MLS will use this moment to reinforce its commitment, and the commitment of each of its Clubs, to an environment that is free from discrimination or harassment and treats all participants with respect and inclusivity,” the statement said.