Explained: Why MLS fined DC United for Rooney hiring process

Wayne Rooney D.C. United 2022
MLS fined DC United $25,000 for its hiring process that led to the appointment of Wayne Rooney, citing the league's diversity rules.
  • Rooney hired in July
  • He had also played for DC United
  • But club failed to properly consider other people

WHAT HAPPENED? MLS requires teams to consider at least two head coach candidates from non-white backgrounds in an effort to promote diversity. The policy states that “the finalist pool includes two or more candidates from underrepresented groups, whereby at least one candidate must be either Black or African American.” DC United failed to meet that standard when it appointed Rooney.

HOW DID MLS EXPLAIN THE PUNISHMENT? "While MLS’s review found that DC United met with two candidates from underrepresented groups, it was determined that one of those conversations could not be considered a 'finalist pool' interview," wrote the league in a statement.

"As a result, the club remained obligated to interview an additional candidate from an underrepresented group as part of the 'finalist pool' or request a waiver from MLS detailing the extenuating circumstances that would not allow them to have done so. DC United, who announced Wayne Rooney as their new head coach on July 12, failed to do so, resulting in the fine."

AND WHAT'S MORE: DC United accepted the decision in its own statement, writing that it had "respect" for the process.

WHAT NEXT FOR DC UNITED? The punishment does not change Rooney's employment status, and the matter is now considered to be concluded. DC United is at the start of its offseason after failing to make the playoffs.