FAI vow to take action over ‘vile and horrific racist abuse’ of Ireland U-15 players

The FAI have been in touch with Gardaí over abuse of Ireland U-15 players. Image: Sportsfile.

Aidan Fitzmaurice

THE FAI say they are in touch with the Gardaí over “vile and horrific racist abuse” on social media of members of the Republic of Ireland U-15 side.

A strongly-worded statement was issued on Friday night in reaction to comments about the makeup of the current U-15 side. One twitter account, since deleted, had said that “traditional” Irish players were being kept out of the international teams by “immigrants”.

Former Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic player Fuad Sule, now in the Irish League with Larne, was one of the first to react to that tweet, saying this “tweet is an absolute disgrace. Players are picked on ability and if they’re IRISH not on skin colour”.

And the FAI have now come out with a statement. “The FAI takes the protection of all Irish players seriously. We abhor such ignorant and unacceptable online abuse of any player and we are working with the Gardai, the social media companies, the families of the players and their clubs to ensure that this matter is dealt with in the appropriate manner. We have spoken with the players and their families tonight and offered them our full support,” the FAI said.

FAI CEO Jonathan Hill said: “There is no place for racism in football. To see such young players targeted in this manner is particularly sickening and the FAI will do everything in our power to ensure the perpetrators are identified and held responsible for their disgraceful actions.”

FAI President Gerry McAnaney added: “I was proud to see these players represent Ireland in their Under 15 international against Latvia in Whitehall on Tuesday and proud of the delight they took in representing their country. I can assure their families that as an Association we fully support all our players. We cannot tolerate such behaviour in society and sport.”