The Cork Schoolboys League has defended its decision to impose a €200 fine on a club after one of its teams took a stand against racism.
The league broke its silence on the controversy which erupted after the Irish Examiner first reported the incident on Tuesday.
In a statement, league chairman Peter Connolly said: “We are satisfied that, having carefully considered all of the issues relevant to the events in question, we have conducted ourselves properly and in accordance with fairness and fair procedures to all parties concerned.”
Two Carrigaline coaches spoke out earlier this week to highlight the issue which arose after an Under-15 Carrigaline player was racially abused by an opposing player during a game. It was the second time this season that this player was subjected to racial abuse on the pitch.
The player’s coach, Mark McCarthy, refused to allow his team back on the pitch, in the hope of securing a rematch. However, he was called before the Cork Schoolboys League’s disciplinary committee, which imposed a €200 fine on his club.
“I had to make a moral decision. I had to decide whether we should continue and try to win the game, or should I protect our player,” Mr McCarthy 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 club has fully supported Mr McCarthy’s stance.
In its statement, the Cork Schoolboys League said it expects clubs which are members of the league to adhere to and abide by the rules governing the playing of its games.
“To that extent, the position of the league is that it is not appropriate to abandon a match in circumstances where there is alleged misconduct of any form, however serious,” Mr Connolly said. “In participating in our league, our members and clubs have agreed to be bound by the rules, policies and procedures of the Cork Schoolboys League.
“Abandonment of a match in these circumstances constitutes a breach of those rules, policies and procedures to which the club in question has subscribed. Unfortunately, in this instance, such action leaves the club in question open to sanction, pursuant to the rules, policies and procedures of the league.”
Mr Connolly said the league wanted to express its disapproval “in the strongest terms” of any form of racism and said, if complaints of racism are brought to their attention, it is policy to investigate the complaint as thoroughly as possible.
The league also insisted that it has a comprehensive and robust policy to deal with such matters in accordance with FAI policy.
An information meeting on racism and reporting of alleged racist comments was held for all clubs in the Cork Schoolboys League on January 27 last in Ballincollig, presided over by Des Tomlinson, the FAI Intercultural Officer, he added.
The league said it would be making no further comment on the matter.
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