Major League Soccer (MLS) has announced that Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez has been placed on administrative leave due to concerns of potentially violating the league’s gambling policies for a second time.

Hernandez faces another suspension following his previous ban at the end of the 2021 season for violating the League’s gambling integrity rules and standards of conduct.

During the investigation in 2021, it was discovered that Hernandez had placed bets on two MLS matches, although neither involved his team. The league concluded there was no evidence suggesting he used insider information or compromised the integrity of the games.

At the time of his initial suspension at age 23, Hernandez disclosed his gambling activities to the club in July of that year. He acknowledged undergoing treatment for a gambling addiction and expressed concerns for his well-being. 

Consequently, he was banned in October and missed the final six matches of the 2021 season, including SKC’s two playoff games, along with numerous matches during the investigation period.

Hernandez returned at the beginning of the 2022 season in January under strict conditions, including continued abstinence from gambling. Both the league and his club committed to supporting him with necessary counselling and assistance.

Following another alleged breach, an investigation has commenced, leading to Hernandez’s administrative leave. Currently, he is unable to participate in training or matches for SKC, who are midway through their season.

Already this year there have been several players and stakeholders of football teams charged with similar offences to that of Hernandez.

In May, three of Australia’s top-flight division players were charged with betting offences, after an investigation uncovered suspected betting corruption.

One of the most significant incidents this year involves Lucas Paquetá, a player for West Ham United, who is accused of attempting to manipulate matches by intentionally provoking the referee to issue a card to influence the betting market. If proven, Paquetá could potentially face a ban from football lasting more than 10 years.

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