Last week we found out the length of suspension handed down — three MLS games — to Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey for his actions during the Sounders’ US Open Cup fourth round defeat to the Portland Timbers.
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On Thursday, it was announced by U.S. Soccer that the US Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel has also given the US national team captain a lengthy suspension from US Open Cup play. Dempsey, 32, has been suspended from USOC play for a minimum of two years or six games — whichever is greater.
Dempsey will not be eligible to play for any team in the USOC in 2016 or 2017, and could see that ban extend to 2018 and beyond should the Sounders bow out early in either or both of the next two years’ tournaments. MLS teams must win five games in order to win the USOC.
Dempsey’s latest suspension comes on the heels of a critical statement from the referees’ union, the Professional Soccer Referees Association, following what they felt was “a slap on the wrist” punishment.
“PSRA is deeply disappointed with the decision of MLS to give Mr. Dempsey a light slap on the wrist by suspending him for a mere three games following a report of both referee assault and abuse as those terms are defined under applicable policies. This type of conduct toward any referee is a direct threat to the integrity of the game, and should not be tolerated under any circumstances.
“The ceremonial discipline issued by MLS not only fails to deter such reprehensible conduct going forward, it conveys the message that a player can physically engage, destroy property and threaten a referee and suffer minimum consequences.
Dempsey will, as announced last week, still be eligible to compete for the USMNT in next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.