New Zealand-Qatar friendly abandoned after racism claim
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.
New Zealand Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell said the sports body fully supported "the action of our players".
"We never want to see a match abandoned but some issues are bigger than football and it is important to make a stand," he said in a statement.
"There is no room for racism in football."
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 teammate. 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 matter.
"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)."
Second game abandoned
In a separate incident, also in Austria, a game between the Republic of Ireland Under-21s and Kuwait Under-22s was cut short after an Irish player was allegedly the target of racism.
"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 Football Association of Ireland wrote on Twitter.
"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."
Jarrah Al-Ateeqi, director of the Kuwait team, said the friendly was brought to a premature end in the second half due to "roughness and excessive tension between the players".
Al-Ateeqi explained that "the match was stopped at the 70th minute to protect the players from injuries".