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Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez has been suspended without pay for the rest of the 2021 season for violating league gambling rules. An investigation by MLS found that Hernandez, who admitted to suffering a gambling addiction, wagered on two MLS games.
According to a league statement, the investigation began on July 5 after Hernandez told his club that he had become concerned with his personal safety because of his gambling debts.
"Over the last several months, I have been able to reassess, take responsibility for my actions and get the proper care for something that has greatly affected me," Hernandez wrote in a statement posted on social media Friday.
Neither of the two MLS matches Hernandez bet on involved Sporting Kansas City.
"Hernandez engaged in extensive and unlawful sports gambling," the league found. "No evidence was found that Hernandez possessed insider information about the teams or circumstances of those two MLS matches, or that he's ever bet on a match involving his own team."
The law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP conducted an independent investigation on behalf of the league and, in conjunction with law enforcement, conducted witness interviews, examined data from online betting accounts and reviewed activity related to certain MLS matches.
"I look forward to doing everything possible to get back on the field and will work harder than ever to help Sporting KC achieve its goals," Hernandez wrote.
Given his full cooperation in the league investigation, Hernandez will be eligible for reinstatement on Jan. 1 at the discretion of commissioner Don Garber.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Felipe Hernandez of Sporting KC suspended for betting on MLS matches