Some Qatar players apologised to their New Zealand opponents when they heard the outburst by Yusuf Abdurisag that led to the All Whites’ refusal to play the second half of Tuesday’s international friendly, according to Tauranga-based football writer Mathew Nash.
In his Two Halves substack report, Nash quotes an All White who was on the pitch at the time of the incident as saying:
“The Qatari players took defence quickly for their teammate and were extremely apologetic in the moment as they heard loud and clear what was said.
“It was bang out of order and there is no room for racism in football.”
The player stopped short of revealing exactly what Abdurisag said but said his words were heard not only by the New Zealand players but some of his teammates as well.
The player, who asked to remain anonymous, shared a message from the players that said: “We stand together as a group and we appreciate the support we have received from our people.”
The New Zealand team decided at half-time not to resume the match, which they were leading 1-0, after match officials took no action following their protests.
Main photo: New Zealand captain Joe Bell (right) remonstrates with Qatari players.
FIFA ‘awaiting report from match commissioner’
Meanwhile, FIFA have not yet received a report from the match commissioner for the game abandoned at half-time in Ritzing, Austria.
The matter is likely to go before its disciplinary committee, a spokesman told Stuff.
“There’s no special process. We wait for reports to come in from the match commissioner and we look at it internally,’’ the spokesperson said.
”It’s a process and it’s the same as a legal process in the regular courts of Auckland, Wellington or London. You can’t speak about the process until you have all of the information and all of that information has been deciphered. It’s like any legal process.”
The FIFA spokesperson said “you can’t go on record speaking about it because you could potentially jeopardise anything in the future, and it’s the same with disciplinary measures.”
Watch the incident
NZ Football said in a statement to 1News:
“The footage of the game clearly shows several of our players responding in unison to something offensive being said and the racial slur was heard widely by a number of players on the field.
“Rather than New Zealand Football or the Qatar Football Association commenting further, we have referred this matter to FIFA to investigate due to the seriousness of its nature.”
The Qatar Football Association has made a media statement in which they say Abdurisag denies racially abusing New Zealand defender Michael Boxall, who is of Samoan descent.
Abdurisag has told the QFA he was subjected to racial abuse during the match.