The highest level governing body in US soccer has punished a player who used a gay slur against another player during a match on Thursday.

Marc Burch, a defender for Seattle Sounders FC, used the slur during a playoff game against Real Salt Lake, reported The Seattle Times. 

He was suspended for three games, which, critics have said, effectively puts an end to his participation in the current soccer season. He was also fined an undisclosed amount, and will be required to attend “diversity and sensitivity training.”

Mr Burch issued an apology on Friday, which read:

“I apologise for my horrific choice of words last night during our match. This is something that is inconsistent with my family values and because of that I am both disappointed and embarrassed by my level of poor judgment.

“I take seriously my role as a leader in the community and this is completely regrettable and unacceptable. Character matters and I hope through hard work on and off the field to begin earning your respect and trust again.”

MLS commissioner, Don Garber, also released a statement:

“Major League Soccer has a zero tolerance policy in response to this type of behavior from its players or staff,” he said.

“While I understand and believe that Mr Burch is remorseful, Major League Soccer is committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.”

Not the first time Major League Soccer has issued such a punishment, back in April, Houston Dynamos midfielder, Colin Clark was also subject to a similar punishment after he screamed at a Seattle ball boy who refused to toss him a ball so that he could catch it.