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FIFA stress 'zero-tolerance policy' as friendlies abandoned over racism claims
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Jamie Gardner
Press Association
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said referees should stop matches where there are incidents of racism (Nick Potts/PA)
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said referees should stop matches where there are incidents of racism (Nick Potts/PA)

FIFA will take a “zero tolerance” approach if allegations of racism which led to the abandonment of two friendly matches played on Monday are found proven.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21s’ match against Kuwait Under-22s 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.

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 said last week that referees should stop matches if incidents of discrimination occur.

“It’s very important not just to talk about racism and discrimination, but to take action in a decisive and convincing manner – zero tolerance,” Infantino said.

“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”.


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