Ireland U21s star Sinclair Armstrong has opened up about the alleged racist abuse he suffered which saw the Ireland U21s game with Kuwait in June abandoned. The QPR man said he was proud of his restraint given the shocking nature of the incident.
The incident occurred during an Ireland U21 friendly against the Kuwait U22s in Austria last month. Sinclair says he was racially abused by a Kuwaiti player while warming up on the sideline. After reporting the incident to the match-day officials the Irish side opted to halt their involvement in the game, with the match abandoned after 60 minutes.
Following the incident, the FAI have come out in full support of Armstrong, the team and manager Jim Crawford, with the association supporting their version of events and reporting the incident to FIFA and UEFA. However, despite the show of support, the Kuwaiti FA have denied that version of events saying the game was cancelled due to excessive roughness and tension between the players.
Sinclair Armstrong opens up about alleged racist incident
Despite the denials from Kuwait, the man in the middle of the incident, Sinclair Armstrong has opened up and explained what happened in the lead-up to the game being abandoned.
Speaking to the Training121 podcast Sinclair explained that he was warming up on the sideline when the incident occurred, with the alleged comments directed at him leaving him in disbelief.
I remember going out to warm up. It was me and (team-mate) Killian Phillips. He was right beside me. The lad made a gesture and me being me, I just laughed.
The lad made a gesture. Me being me, I just laughed. Then he said what he said, and I looked at him thinking: ‘There is no way he just said that’.
It’s kind of like the devil and the angel on my shoulder. Should I go and punch him? Or calm yourself and see what happens.
Ultimately Sinclair Armstrong made the probably wise decision to avoid an altercation, with his handling of the situation a testament to his character and his wisdom.
I called the linesman, ‘Did you hear what he said?’. Then Killian was going mad, more mad than me.
“He went over to the lad. Everyone was like, ‘Killian, calm down, what was said?’ Killian said what was said, our bench got up and their bench got up.
But I am proud of myself because I know I could have hit him. There was no one stopping me from hitting him, but I just thought, if I hit this lad, I’m not going to get anything out of it.
He had already said what he said. I have already heard it. I am proud of myself that I didn’t hit him and just dealt with it the way I dealt with it, by just telling the linesman: ‘He said this’ and telling the gaffer: ‘He said this’. We just walked off.
Sinclair's handling of the situation and his self-awareness evidently shows the Dubliner has wisdom beyond his years.
You can catch Sinclair Armstrong's full chat with the Traning121 Podcast just below.