Jim Crawford’s Ireland Under-21s rounded off their preparations for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers with a 3-0 win against the Kuwait Under 22s in the Austrian town of Bad Radkersburg however the game would be abandoned after 60 minutes.
22nd Jun 2023
Ireland were leading when a racist remark was aimed at an Ireland substitute during the second half.
Before then Ireland had raced to a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes. First Ollie O’Neill found the bottom corner with a sweet strike after a cushioned lay-off by the excellent Conor Carty. Then Carty himself found the net when captain for the game Andrew Moran broke the offside trap and put the ball on a place for the St. Pat’s man Carty to net his first Under-21s goal.
The Boys in White dominated the first half exchanges with Moran, Carty, Bosun Lawal, Darragh Burns and Sam Curtis, off a Moran corner, all going close to adding a third goal but the sides went into the break with Ireland two to the good.
Crawford used the interval to make a number of changes with Armstrong Oko-Flex in for Burns and debutants Aidomo Emakhu, Jack Henry-Francis and Killian Cahill replacing Carty, Lawal and Keeley.
Striker Emakhu made an immediate impact, finishing with a clinical first touch after a good run from captain Moran seven minutes into the second half after good work from fellow substitute Oko-Flex to win the ball back down the right wing.
It was shortly after the goal that the game was abandoned with match organisers confirming Ireland were awarded the 3-0 win.
Statement from FAI
An FAI Spokesperson said: “During the second half of Ireland Under-21s’ international friendly with Kuwait U22s in Austria on Monday evening, we can once again confirm that a racist remark was made to an Ireland substitute by a Kuwaiti player. The comment was heard by a number of Ireland players who reported this immediately to match officials as well as to members of the Ireland and Kuwait team staff.
20th Jun 2023
"Due to the nature of the remark made and with no affirmative action in relation to it from our opponents, the game was abandoned. FAI staff and players were fully in support with this decision.”
"The FAI has offered its full and unequivocal support to the player who was subjected to racism and to his team-mates. We again confirm that we will be reporting this matter to FIFA and UEFA. The FAI does not tolerate any racism towards any of our players or staff."
FAI CEO Jonathan Hill said: “Our position here is very simple and unequivocal. We take a zero tolerance approach to any form of racism and we fully support the actions of Jim and his team. No player at any level of football should be exposed to this type of situation.”
Ireland U21s Head Coach Jim Crawford said: “I fully support the FAI’s stance to take this matter to FIFA and UEFA and hope now that the correct and appropriate action is taken. I’m proud of the stance our players and staff took to stand by one of our own. No-one should be subjected to racism, football’s beauty is its inclusivity and we won't let racism ruin our game.”
Republic of Ireland: Josh Keeley (Killian Cahill, 46’); Sam Curtis, Connor O’Riordan, Sean Grehan, James Furlong, Darragh Burns (Armstrong Oko-Flex, 46’), Bosun Lawal (Jack Henry-Francis, 46’), Ed McJannet, Ollie O’Neill, Andrew Moran, Conor Carty (Emakhu, 46’)