Neville praises former Manchester United and England team-mate Rooney for decisive action on racism
Phil Neville praises former Manchester United and England teammate Wayne Rooney for his decisive action after one of his Inter Miami players was allegedly racially abused by a DC United player
- Phil Neville paid tribute to his former team-mate for the action he took following the alleged incident
- Damion Lowe accused Taxi Fountas of racism in games between two sides
- Play was stopped until Rooney replaced Fountas, who Neville praised
Wayne Rooney has been praised by former England team-mate Phil Neville for his handling of an alleged incident of racism that threatened to stop an MLS match between their teams.
The game between DC United, managed by Rooney, and Neville’s Inter Miami – owned by David Beckham – was interrupted when United striker Taxi Fountas was accused of racially abusing Inter defender Damion Lowe.
After Rooney and Neville, who played for Manchester United together as well as internationally, spoke to referee Ismail Elfath, Rooney replaced Fountas and action resumed.
“There was a racist comment which was unacceptable,” Neville said.
“A word was used that I think is unacceptable in society. I think it’s the worst word in the world.
‘I have to give massive, massive respect to Wayne Rooney for handling it the way he did. I have always known him as a class actor and today he rose in my estimation more than he ever has, more than any goal he has ever scored.’
DC United boss Wayne Rooney decided to take out Taxi Fountas the next time the ball went out of play
Shortly before the hour mark, Fountas was involved in a scuffle with Lowe, which is where the alleged incident took place.
Miami players had discussed leaving the field before Rooney and Neville intervened.
“If nothing had been done, we would not have continued,” confirmed Miami’s DeAndre Yedlin, once of Tottenham and Newcastle. MLS is investigating the matter.
Phil Neville said he ‘got more respect’ for Rooney ‘than for any goal he’d scored before’
Neither Elfath nor the other officials are believed to have heard the alleged remark, while events under scrutiny were also controlled by VAR.
An MLS spokesman said: ‘MLS has zero tolerance for offensive and offensive language and we take these allegations very seriously. An investigation into this matter will begin immediately.
A DC United statement added: ‘DC United are aware of the allegations involving a player during the match against Inter Miami. The club will work closely with Major League Soccer and Inter Miami to investigate the incident.’
DC United player Taxi Fountas took to Instagram to deny allegations he racially abused Inter Miami’s Damion Lowe in Sunday night’s MLS match