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Major League Soccer Fines D.C. United for Failure to Comply Fully with League Diversity Hiring Policy

NEW YORK (October 31, 2022) – Major League Soccer has concluded its review of D.C. United’s recent head coach hiring process and found that the club did not fully meet its obligations under MLS’ Diversity Hiring Policy, which was updated in 2021 to increase the policy’s efficacy, including a specific focus on the hiring of Black candidates and strengthening the policy’s enforcement mechanisms.

Among other things, the Diversity Hiring Policy requires that “the finalist pool includes two (2) or more candidates from underrepresented groups, whereby at least one (1) candidate must be either Black or African American.” While MLS’ review found that D.C. United met with two qualifying candidates from underrepresented groups, the review found that one of those conversations could not be considered a “finalist pool” interview. While D.C. United relied on representations made by one of the candidate’s agents that the candidate understood that they were interviewing as a finalist for the open coaching position, the club learned during the interview that the candidate was not available to pursue the open position.

Once the club came to understand that the candidate was not available for the position, the discussion could no longer reasonably be considered a “finalist pool” interview. Therefore, 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 that would not allow them to have done so.

D.C. United has therefore been fined $25,000 for failure to comply fully with the League’s Diversity Hiring Policy.

MLS has committed to reviewing and evaluating the Diversity Hiring Policy annually to include necessary enhancements and ensure its ongoing efficacy.