US Soccer issues decision following investigation into USOC slur allegation

U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday the findings of an investigation into the alleged use of a racial slur directed at LAFC forward Adama Diomande during his team's U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match against the Portland Timbers on July 18.

The U.S. Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel conducted a hearing and reviewed evidence, concluding that "there was insufficient evidence to conclude that a racial epithet was used but as a matter of principle, the Panel condemned all forms of racial abuse, stating the use of a racial epithet has no place on or off the soccer field."

The statement by U.S. Soccer continued, "As part of the review, the Panel heard from all players involved. It should be clearly noted that the accused player strongly denies using a racial epithet. The panel also reviewed the match official's report, along with written statements and video evidence provided by the clubs. After reviewing all of the available information, the Panel found no other individual that was able to confirm they heard the alleged use of the racial epithet."

The official written decision from the panel that reviewed the case included the following explanation:

"...this is a case of a dispute over what was said between players on the playing field, amidst noise, confusion and multiple speakers speaking at once and in at least two languages. The match official did not hear the statement in question and did not issue a caution based on the incident, nor did any other player in the vicinity come forward to confirm they heard the alleged statement...Given the possibility that it is always possible to mishear or misunderstand another individual in a tense situation, the Panel concluded it does not have a basis to value the credibility of one player over another in this matter."