The Austrian referee who officiated the abandoned match between New Zealand and Qatar has announced he will withdraw from international duties at the end of 2024.
The All Whites refused to continue the game on June 20, 2023, after they protested to Manuel Schüttengruber (40) that a Qatar player had racially abused defender Michael Boxall.
Main photo: New Zealand captain Joe Bell protests to referee Manuel Schüttengruber.
When the match officials declined to take action, the New Zealanders chose not to return to the pitch at Sonnenstee Stadium, Austria.
The Qatar player accused of making the onfield slurs, Yusuf Abdurisag, denied racially abusing Boxall.
FIFA have since notified NZ Football they have been unable to take disciplinary proceedings due to a lack of evidence.
“The ÖFB (Austrian Football Association) announced in a circular this week that FIFA referee Manuel Schüttengruber, surprising to many, will voluntarily end his international career at the end of the year and will no longer represent the ÖFB as a referee on the international stage from 2024.”
The report said he would move off the FIFA list after officiating more than 70 international matches since 2014.
Instead, he plans to focus on Austrian national competitions, VAR roles and mentoring young talents.
“I decided this for myself at the beginning of 2022 and made it known in a forward-looking and future-oriented manner in the summer of 2022 in a conversation with the then ÖFB referee commission,” Schüttengruber said.
“The main reason is my family and my professional life. I want to spend more time with my wife and children and not have to schedule and plan everything like before.
“The international games and the effort associated with them now simply place too much time and physical strain on me.”
The abandoned game
New Zealand were leading 1-0 when Yusuf Abdurisag and Michael Boxall exchanged words.
A number of All Whites heard what was said, and captain Joe Bell led the protests to referee Schüttengruber.
At half-time, the New Zealand squad contacted NZ Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell and took the decision to not take the field.
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.”