An U-15 Cork schoolboy soccer team has been handed a €200 for refusing to continue playing a crucial league match to protest after a player was racially abused.
The Cork Schoolboys League imposed the punishment on Carrigaline United for what two of their coaches claim was a protest against racism on the pitch. The team needed to win the game to avoid being relegated.
Carrigaline were 1-0 down at half time when the manager Mick McCarthy decide to end the game early for his team. One distressed player claimed that someone on the opposing team repeatedly racially abused him throughout the game. It was the second time this season that the player received racial abuse on the field.
“I had to make a moral decision,” said Mr McCarthy.
I had to decide whether we should continue and try to win the game, or should I protect our player. I chose to back the player, protect him and the club. And we got punished for standing up for that. I made what I think was the moral decision. I think I made the correct decision.
He’s been subjected to this kind of thing twice. The second time, I had to make a stand.
Ted O’Callaghan, who also coaches the team admitted being disappointed in the league's decision to impose the sanction.
We are a multicultural society and our sports clubs and teams reflect that. We feel we are being punished for taking a stand. These are only kids who want to play a game and we think the league is hiding behind the rule book here.
The referee did not hear the alleged racist abuse and the coaches are unaware of any sanctions being imposed on the opposing team. You can listen to an interview with coach Ted O'Callaghan on Newstalk Breakfast from 50mins here:
Hat tip: Irish Examiner