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Wednesday 23 May 2018

U12 football match abandoned over 'racist' comments from adult supporters

'In all my years involved in sport, I have never come across anything like this'

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

AN under-12s football match was abandoned last week after adult supporters on the sidelines allegedly hurled racist abuse at two underage Traveller players.

The Wicklow football club told the Herald that they were considering lodging an official complaint with gardai after a number of its players and management team allegedly suffered discriminatory abuse.

The match between Wicklow teams Rathnew and Aughrim Rangers was abandoned after just 20 minutes amid allegations that two young boys were labelled “knackers” and “tinkers” by adult supporters at the game.

A report being compiled by Rathnew will also allege that its manager was described as a “knacker lover”.

There were heated scenes in Allen Park, Aughrim on Sunday, prompting the referee to abandon the under-12s match just 20 minutes into the first half.

Speaking to the Herald last night, Rathnew chairman John Snell said the players and parents are “angry” and “hurt”.

“In all my years involved in sport, I have never come across anything like this,” Mr Snell said. He intends to write to the FAI, adding that parents of those affected are considering making a complaint to gardai.

Mr Snell said his club welcomes children from “all backgrounds” and that the events last Sunday have caused deep distress within the community.

“Our ethos is we are all the same. There is no distinction whatsoever. This abuse was persistent from the start. A stand has to be made,” he said.

Peter Porter, chairman of the Wicklow and District Schoolboys/girls League (WDSL) – the organisation which organises the competition – said they were aware of the incident.

“It deserves due process and this incident is under investigation,” Mr Porter said. He declined to comment further.

It is understood representatives of both clubs and the referee will be asked to account for what they saw during the game as part of that process.

Aughrim Rangers chairman Richard Kirwan said the incident was under investigation and the club would not comment until the conclusion of the investigation.


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