CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans has been accused of using racial slur in front of players earlier this preseason, according to The Athletic and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Association are aware of the accusation and an independent investigation is underway.
It is unclear whether Jans’ reported use of the n-word was directed at a particular player or a group of players.
The Dutch manager will step away from the team during the investigation, with assistant coach Yoann Damet and Ivar van Dinteren set to take charge in the interim.
The team provided the following statement on Friday afternoon: “FC Cincinnati was founded and operates with three core values: (1) being inclusive and family-friendly, (2) having a strong and visible presence in the community, and (3) winning on the field. When club leadership was made aware of the allegation, we were very surprised as building a caring and committed culture has been a focus of Ron’s leadership.
“We want to fully understand the nature of the incident and allow for an environment for our players to speak freely to any locker room issues…While the investigation is undertaken, the Club is also committed to ensuring every member of the club has a deeper appreciation and awareness for differences in cultures and backgrounds, and will institute training for every member of the organization. The Club will not have further comment on this matter until the conclusion of the joint investigation with MLS.”
The league provided a similarly-worded statement: “Major League Soccer has been informed of a complaint filed with the MLS Players Association regarding FC Cincinnati head coach Ron Jans. The MLS league office, in cooperation with FC Cincinnati, has begun an investigation into the matter.”
A statement from the MLSPA read: “The Players Association was very recently made aware of extremely inappropriate comments made by FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans. We have made a report to the appropriate league officials and expect an immediate and thorough league investigation to be conducted.”
Jans, 61, was hired by FC Cincinnati in August after a three-month search to replace Alan Koch, who finished out the 2019 campaign with a 1-5-4 league record. Cincinnati closed their inaugural season in MLS with a league-worst 24 points, and Jans was tabbed as a key cog in the extensive rebuilding project undertaken by general manager and fellow Dutchman Gerard Nijkamp.
FC Cincinnati is currently conducting their preseason training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where they downed the Philadelphia Union 1-0 in a closed-door friendly on Wednesday. The Orange and Blue open the regular season on the road against the New York Red Bulls on March 1.