(Reuters) - Dutchman Ron Jans has resigned as head coach of FC Cincinnati amid an investigation of his alleged use of a racial slur, the Major League Soccer club said on Tuesday.
Jans, who was in his first preseason with the MLS club after being hired last August, stepped away from the team over the weekend as the investigation formally began.
“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” club President Jeff Berding said in a statement.
“We place the utmost importance on a strong culture within our club, beginning in our locker room, and that every person connected with FC Cincinnati feels valued, respected and trusted.”
A complaint was made on Friday by the Major League Soccer Players Association, which said Jans made “extremely inappropriate comments” and called for an investigation of the incident.
It was not disclosed whether Jans had directed his comments toward a player, a group of players or in another context. Multiple reports said the word was part of the lyrics to a song Jans was singing in the team’s locker room.
“Racial and cultural diversity is a major part of what makes the game of soccer so special, and we place the highest priority on respecting every person involved in our game,” said Berding.
“This includes absolutely everyone associated with our club, from our locker room and front office, all the way through to our fans,” he said.
Cincinnati said Frenchman Yoann Damet will serve as the club’s interim head coach.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Dan Grebler