Match abandoned as All Whites walk off in protest of Qatar racial abuse

posted in: All Whites, News

New Zealand’s international friendly against Qatar has been abandoned after claims defender Michael Boxall had been racially abused by an opponent.

The All Whites decided not to take the field for the second half after officials failed to take action against the Qatari accused of the abuse.

The incident happened late in the first half at Sonnenstee Stadium, Austria, when Boxall took exception to the manner in which Yousuf Abdurisag won a free kick.

Flashpoint: Michael Boxall (5) exchanges words with Yousuf Abdurisag.

Words were exchanged and players from both teams came together.

Protests by All Whites captain Joe Bell to Austrian referee Manuel Schüttengruber failed to get a response on the pitch and the teams went into the interval with Bell continuing to remonstrate with officials.

Main photo: Joe Bell makes his views known to referee Manuel Schüttengruber and Qatar player Yousuf Abdurisag.

After a lengthy half-time break, players and officials from both teams failed to reappear.

Soon after, NZ Football tweeted: “Michael Boxall was racially abused during the first half of the game by a Qatari player. No official action was taken so the team have agreed not to come out for the second half of the match.”

NZ Football’s chief executive Andrew Pragnell later confirmed the team had telephoned him at this home in New Zealand to inform him what had happened.

Pragnell said later he had been told Boxall was subjected to a “significant racial slur”.

READ MORE: NZ Football: ‘We support players’ decision to refuse to finish Qatar match >>>>

WATCH: The incident that led to All Whites calling off game against Qatar >>>>

VIDEO: Highlights from the abandoned game between All Whites and Qatar >>>>

How the national bodies reacted


‘An argument between two players’

Qatar coach Carlos Queiroz appeared on the sideline and made a statement, saying the game had been abandoned.

“The players of New Zealand have decided not to get back to the game. They abandoned the game,” he told an interviewer.

“The facts are the following.

“Apparently, two players on the pitch, they exchanged words. What’s first, what’s second, is only between them.

“The New Zealand players, they decided to support (their) teammate.

“Our team decided to support our player.

“The staff of New Zealand say they support the statement of the New Zealand player.

“We support our player.

“And they decided to abandon the game, with no witnesses, the referee did not listen, the benches, the coaches don’t want to listen … just an argument between two players.

“I think this is a news story, a new chapter in football which is, for sure, something that nobody can understand.

“Now the football authorities (will) take a decision about what happened in this friendly game.

“I think this case will be under the observation of FIFA, for sure, because I ask the coach, I ask the referees, and they did nothing.”

New Zealand were leading 1-0 after Marko Stamenic scored in the 17th minute.

PFA extends support to All Whites

The New Zealand Professional Footballers’ Association has declared their support for the All Whites.

In a statement, the players’ union said: “NZPFA stands unequivocally with its players. We commend and support our players’ poised reaction in this challenging situation.

“We have contacted the team and will work with New Zealand Football to support the players in any way required. There is no room for racism in our sport.”



Barsham, Shehata, Salman, Abdoullah, Yusuf, Marafi, Mohamed, Ahmed, Mashal, Abdulla, Thaim.

Subs not used: Ali, Al-Hail, Madibo, Abdulsallam, Alabdlla, Alrawi, Muntari, Al-Naimi, Alhamawende, Hassan, Mazeed.

New Zealand

Max Crocombe, Nando Pijnaker, Michael Boxall, Bill Tuiloma, Matt Garbett, Joe Bell (captain), Marko Stamenic, Marco Rojas, Liberato Cacace, Max Mata, Callum McCowatt.

Subs not used: Oli Sail, Nik Tzanev, Callum Elliot, Francis De Vries, Ben Waine, Elijah Just, Tommy Smith, Alex Rufer, Alex Greive, Finn Surman, Tim Payne.

Yellow card: Pijnaker 42′.


Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (Austria).

Assistant referees: Roland Brandner (Austria), Santino Schreiner (Austria).

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