Qatar racism row standoff as QFA supports Abdurisag and NZF refuses to back down

June 21 – Qatar has hit back at allegations of racism against one of its players in a match against New Zealand that led to the game being abandoned at half-time.

With New Zealand leading 1-0 in the friendly taking place in Austria on Monday, a melee took place between players from both sides in the 40th minute. New Zealand said their defender Michael Boxall, of Samoan heritage, had received a “significant racist slur” from Qatar’s Yusuf Abdurisag.

After complaining to the referee, the New Zealanders refused to come out for the second half and the game was abandoned.

The Qatar FA insist their player was in fact the victim after an exchange of words “in the heat of the moment”.

“Everyone at QFA stands with Abdurisag and strongly condemns the unwarranted attention he has received in the past 24 hours,” Jassim bin Rashid al-Buenain, QFA president, said in a statement. “The QFA remains fully committed to supporting Yusuf at this time.”

“The QFA takes the allegations incredibly seriously and stands against racism in all its forms,” the federation added in a statement. “The experience of racism should never be trivialised and remains a serious problem within the game.

“The QFA encourages the international football community to do more to tackle racism and discrimination on and off the pitch.”

The New Zealanders, who have complained to FIFA, are convinced about their side of the story, however, saying the racial slur was heard by several of its players.

NZF CEO Andrew Pragnell said they “fully support the action of our players”, who decided to abandon the match.

FIFA has still made no comment.

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