New Zealand vs Katar The New Zealand national team refused to return for the second half against Katar during a friendly match played in Austria after the team accused the Katar national team of verbally abusing player Michael Boxall with racist remarks towards the end of the first half. The New Zealand coach later stated that he and the team decided to take a stand against racism and to support Boxall. The Katar national team did not respond to the allegations during official communications.
Kuwait vs Ireland Also, during a U-21 match played in Austria, the Ireland national team refused to continue the game against Kuwait following racist abuse directed at an Irish player by a Kuwaiti player during the second half. The incident was reported to FIFA and UEFA. The Irish Examiner reported the abuse occurred when Ireland was leading 3-0. The Kuwait Football Association acknowledged that the game was abandoned but stated that it was due to excessive physicality and tensions between the players, rather than racism.
Reactions and responses New Zealand's Football Chief Andrew Pragnell applauded the decision of his team and stated that it is important to take a stand against racism. Meanwhile, Carlos Queiroz, the coach of the Katar national team, denied that any such racist comments were made. The Kuwait Football Association rejected the Irish accusations and emphasized their team's discipline and respectful behavior.
The impact of racism in football These incidents underline the continuing issue of racism in football matches. Although FIFA and UEFA have implemented measures to combat racism in football, they remain prevalent in the sport. The abandonment of these two international games highlights the importance of addressing the issue and taking effective measures to prevent instances of racism in football.