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FIFA to examine alleged Racism incidents from two International Matches
- Updated: June 21, 2023
FIFA is set to examine reports on two separate instances of alleged racism in recent international matches; the game between Republic of Ireland U21s and Kuwait U22s in Austria was abandoned; New Zealand’s game against Qatar was also cancelled at half-time
The Republic of Ireland U21s’ match against Kuwait U22s in Austria was called off after an allegation that a Kuwaiti player racially abused one of Ireland’s substitutes.
The senior international between New Zealand and Qatar, also in Austria, was cut short after the New Zealand Football Association said one of its players, Michael Boxall, had a racist remark directed at him in the first half by a Qatari opponent.
Even though the Ireland match was a tier two friendly and not requiring formal FIFA approval to be played, the fact that the Football Association of Ireland said in a tweet on Monday evening it would be reporting the matter to FIFA would oblige the game’s global governing body to investigate.
The New Zealand match was played under FIFA jurisdiction, meaning the referee’s report will be sent to the global governing body as a matter of course.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said last week: “It’s very important not just to talk about racism and discrimination, but to take action in a decisive and convincing manner – zero tolerance.
“There is no football if there is racism – so let’s stop the games.
“The referees have this opportunity in FIFA competitions as we have this process for stopping the game, and actions have to be taken at every level, at national level as well.”
Infantino made the remarks after meeting with the Brazil squad in Barcelona, including Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior who has been on the receiving end of repeated racial abuse in Spain this year.
The Football Association of Ireland posted a tweet on Monday which 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.”
The Kuwaiti federation published a tweet in which Olympic football team director Jarrah Al Ateeqi claimed the match had been abandoned “due to roughness and excessive tension between the players”.
FIFA stresses ‘zero tolerance’ policy
FIFA will take a “zero tolerance” approach if allegations of racism which led to the abandonment of the two friendly matches are found proven.
A FIFA spokesperson said: “FIFA is awaiting the official reports before deciding on next steps.
“FIFA has a zero-tolerance policy against any forms of discrimination as stressed last week by the FIFA president.”
Gianni Infantino has recently stressed that referees should stop matches if incidents of discrimination occur.