19 June 2023

Two international matches abandoned over alleged racist abuse

19 June 2023

The Republic of Ireland Under-21s’ friendly against Kuwait Under-22s was one of two international matches abandoned on Monday due to allegations of racist abuse.

The Football Association of Ireland announced that their match in Bad Radkersburg, Austria, was brought to premature conclusion in the second half with Jim Crawford’s men leading 3-0.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s match against Qatar, coincidentally also in Austria, was abandoned at half-time when New Zealand refused to take to the field after no action was taken over an alleged racist remark.

The FAI posted on Twitter: “The FAI regrets to announce that today’s U21 international against Kuwait has been abandoned after a racist remark was made by a Kuwaiti player towards one of our substitutes.

“The FAI does not tolerate any racism towards any of our players or staff and will be reporting this serious matter to FIFA and UEFA.”

In a statement posted later on Twitter, the Kuwait FA revealed Kuwait Olympic football team director Jarrah Al-Ateeqi said that the match “was not completed due to roughness and excessive tension between the players”.

The Kuwait FA said: “Al-Ateeqi explained that the match stopped at the 70th minute to protect the players from injuries, especially since the main goal of the match is friction and standing on the readiness of the players before the conclusion of their camp and return to the country.”

The governing body added that Al-Ateeqi “praised the discipline and commitment of the players throughout the camp”.

Ireland led 2-0 at the break after early goals from Ollie O’Neill and Conor Carty, and extended their advantage seven minutes after the restart through Aidomo Emakhu, making his debut after being introduced as a half-time substitute.

Crawford spoke out passionately in March after members of Ireland’s Under-15s squad were racially abused online, prompting the FAI to brand the perpetrators’ actions “vile and horrific”.

Monday’s game came at the end of a training camp in Austria designed to prepare them for September’s European Championship qualifiers against Turkey and San Marino, and four days after they fought back to draw 2-2 with Ukraine Under-21s.

Meanwhile, in Ritzing, New Zealand refused to continue their match against Qatar after an alleged racist remark directed at defender Michael Boxall.

NZ Football tweeted: “Michael Boxall was racially abused during the first half of the game by a Qatari player.

“No official action was taken so the team have agreed not to come out for the second half of the match.”

The incident occurred shortly before half-time, leading to a reported melee on the pitch before the teams went in for the interval with the All Whites leading 1-0.

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