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File pic. Bryan Keane/INPHO

Ireland U21s game abandoned after alleged racial abuse

Jim Crawford’s side had been leading the friendly game against Kuwait 3-0.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Jun 2023

IRELAND U21s’ match in Austria this afternoon was abandoned after one of the Irish substitutes was allegedly racially abused.

A statement from the FAI’s Twitter account read: “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.”

Ireland had been leading the friendly game 3-0 thanks to goals from Conor Carty, Ollie O’Neill Aidomo Emakhu before the encounter came to a halt unexpectedly in the second half.

It is the second match in this international window that Jim Crawford’s side have not completed — a previously planned fixture with Gabon was cancelled after their opponents failed to turn up.

It is also the second international window in a row in which an Irish underage football team has been at the centre of a racism controversy.

Last March, the FAI condemned “vile and horrific racist abuse aimed at players from our Men’s U15 international squad on multiple social media outlets”.

Meanwhile, a second such incident took place this evening when an international friendly between New Zealand and Qatar was abandoned in Austria on Monday after the former claimed one of their players was racially abused by an opponent.

New Zealand did not return for the second half of the match after an incident that occurred shortly before the break with them leading 1-0.

“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 New Zealand football federation tweeted.

Qatar coach Carlos Queiroz said New Zealand’s captain came over at half-time to inform him they would not be resuming the game.

“The facts are the following. Apparently two players on the pitch exchanged words,” Queiroz told Qatari sports channel Alkass.

“The New Zealand players decided to support their team-mate. All our team decided to support our player.

“The staff of New Zealand also support the statement of the New Zealand player. We support our player and they decided to abandon the game with no witnesses.

“The referee did not (hear the exchange), the benches, coaches nobody (heard). Just an argument between two players.”

Queiroz said he expected FIFA would investigate the incident.

“Let’s allow the football authorities to take a decision about what happened,” he added.

“I think this case will be under the observation of FIFA, for sure, because I ask the coach, the referees… nobody (heard anything).”

Additional reporting by – © AFP 2023

Written by Paul Fennessy and posted on

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