Sunday 17 December 2017

Hoops deny Zayed racism allegations

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THE SHAMROCK Rovers player at the heart of a League of Ireland racism storm has denied racially abusing Derry City's Eamon Zayed.

The FAI are looking into allegations that the Libyan international was the subject of comments from a Hoops player during Monday's 1-1 draw between the teams, but a club statement said the player in question will contest the charge.

"The club has spoken to the player in question and he completely refutes the accusation that has been made against him," the statement said. "The club will of course co-operate with the FAI investigation in a bid to clear the name of the player involved and the club."

Players' union, the PFAI, confirmed they also had received a complaint from the league's top scorer -- who scored City's equaliser at Tallaght Stadium -- but the accused player had not contacted them last night.

The FAI are also investigating a separate incident of a similar nature involving Zayed from Friday's match between St Patrick's Athletic and Derry City. It has been alleged that the former Ireland U-21 player, who declared for the country of his grandfather, was abused from the stands and Saints have confirmed that they have been notified of an investigation by the association.

The FAI's Disciplinary Control Unit will look into the allegations.

"There is a complete process to go through when allegations of this nature are made," said Airtricity League director Fran Gavin.

"We will look for comments from the club and individuals allegedly involved and will address the matter in a sensitive fashion."

It is not the first time Zayed, whose father is Tunisian, has been on the end of racial abuse while playing in the league.

He has recounted several incidents in his blog, in which he recalled being called "a black b*****d", "a Muslim" and a "shoe bomber" on separate occasions during his career.

Derry manager Stephen Kenny made the issue public after the game, but said the player himself didn't want to talk about the incident.

In 2009, then Bohemians defender Jason McGuinness was banned for five games after admitting to using a racially abusive term at an opponent from Sligo Rovers during a league game.

Irish Independent

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