FAI investigates schoolboys soccer racism dispute

The FAI has launched its own investigation into why a schoolboys soccer club was fined €200 after the manager of one of its underage teams took a stance against racism.

The governing body of Irish soccer confirmed last night that it has written to the Cork Schoolboys League asking for a full report on the incident involving Carrigaline Utd in Co Cork.

However, it is understood that the FAI does not have the power to overrule the fine.

The Irish Examiner reported yesterday how the league’s disciplinary committee imposed the fine after the manager of one of Carrigaline’s U15 teams took his players off the pitch at half-time during a vital game after one of his players was subjected to racial abuse by a member of the opposing team.

Coach Mark McCarthy said he had to make a moral decision on the day.

“I had to decide whether we should continue and try to win the game, or should I protect our player,” he said. “I chose to back the player, protect him and the club. And we got punished for standing up for that. I made what I think was the moral decision. I think I made the correct decision.”

The fine was imposed on the club for its team’s failure to fulfil the fixture. The loss of the points led to the team’s relegation.

In a statement yesterday, Carrigaline Utd said it fully supports Mr McCarthy’s “moral decision” to withdraw the team to protect the player from this type of behaviour.

“Racist comments are on the increase as identified by our league. We generally support their stand on this matter,” a club spokesman said.

But the club declined to comment further.

Carrigaline-based Cllr John Collins congratulated the coach for the stance he took. “Hopefully it will force the FAI to support clubs that take a stance against racism,” he said.

“I also think the €200 should be returned to Carrigaline Utd.”

An FAI spokesman said: “The association operates an extensive intercultural programme, and works hard around the country to tackle racism and discrimination through its dedicated intercultural officer.”

The Show Racism the Red Card initiative, which works with the FAI to promote awareness of racism and how to respond, said it is vital that people subjected to racist incidents feel supported in reporting them.

“Those who experience or witness racism must feel continued assurance that responses will take place,” its coordinator Garrett Mullan said.

Irish international soccer players Simon Cox, David Meyler, Sean St Ledger, and Seamus Coleman are among those who have spearheaded the Show Racism the Red Card initiative.


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