Belfast Telegraph

FAI racism probe after Derry City star Zayed claims racist abuse from Shamrock Rovers player

BY Ruaidhri O'Connor

The League of Ireland has been plunged into a racism row after a Shamrock Rovers player was accused of racially abusing Derry City striker Eamon Zayed on Monday night.

The FAI's Disciplinary Control Unit (DCU) will investigate the incident after the Libya international reported the alleged abuse to match referee Richie Winter and the match delegate at Tallaght Stadium.

Players union the PFAI have also received a complaint from the former Ireland under-21 star, but have “not yet been contacted by the player alleged to have made the comment.”

The player is believed to be denying the accusation.

Derry have also complained to the FAI about abuse Zayed received from the stands during a draw with St Patrick's Athletic last Friday night.

The association yesterday confirmed that the delegate's report from Monday's clash addressed the issue and that will be reviewed along with the referee's report, while the Saints acknowledged that they are under investigation and will look into the matter themselves.

The DCU will investigate 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.”

“Racism is something we will not tolerate in our game and thankfully it hasn't been a feature in our games. However, it is something we must always be mindful of.”

Zayed qualifies for Libya through his grandfather. His father is Tunisian and mother is Irish.

This is not the first time that the league's top scorer has been on the end of racial abuse while on the pitch.

He has recounted several incidents in his online blog, in which he recalled being called “a black b*****d,” “a Muslim” and a “shoe-bomber” on separate occasions during his time with Bray Wanderers, Drogheda United and Sporting Fingal.

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

“He doesn't want to speak about

it. He's actually quite upset at the minute,” he said.

“There's been an official complaint made already. I think he said it to the match observer. There was incidents on Friday as well. One or two incidents.”

City captain Kevin Deery called the incident “a shambles” and called for the clubs to respond.

“I was aware of something happening last Friday and I heard that a comment was made on Monday, if that's the case then it's shocking and there needs to be a crackdown on it by the clubs.”

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