Michael Boxall gives first interview after abandonment of All Whites match

posted in: All Whites, News

Defender Michael Boxall says he wants to “move on” after the uproar caused by the abandonment of New Zealand’s game against Qatar when he says he was racially abused by an opponent.

He has told Minnesota’s Star Tribune newspaper the comment made to him was not specifically a racial slur about his Samoan heritage but he called it unacceptable.

“It’s one of those things, I’m pretty competitive and I say a lot of things that I wouldn’t want my kids to hear, but that’s certainly crossing the line,” he said.

Boxall has returned to his Minnesota United club after the All Whites disbanded in Austria after the Qatar match, in which New Zealand were leading 1-0 when the team refused to play the second half.

The team decided to make a stand when match officials took no action about their complaints that Boxall had been racially abused.

Main photo: Michael Boxall … ‘I’m proud of my teammates.’

Of the incident, Boxall told the Star Tribune:

“It’s not something I’d ever say.

“I didn’t really take great offence to it, but I think it’s one of those things you can’t allow on a football field.

“I’m sure it’s a slur he uses colloquially every day, but when it’s directed at another player on the field, you can’t get away with that. It’s not something I take personally. … I’m proud of my teammates for taking the stand they did.”

Boxall said the New Zealand team had four or five players in earshot when the comment was made.

“You can see the video, see the reaction,” he said.

Watch the incident

The Qatar Football Association has stated its player Yusuf Abdurisag denies using discriminatory language and claims he was racially abused during the game.

Asked by the Star Tribune if he had heard from the QFA or Abdurisag, Boxall said:

“I’m sure if you’ve seen their statement, you wouldn’t expect anything.

“I’ve moved on, and I’m ready to get back to work. We’ve taken that stand, and now it’s out of our control and just let the powers that be sort everything out now.”

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