Belfast Telegraph

Derry City right behind Zayed

By Robert Jones

Derry City manager Stephen Kenny has promised that the club will give striker Eamon Zayed its full backing in his case against a Shamrock Rovers player over an alleged racist comment.



Dublin-born Libyan international Zayed has claimed that a Rovers player made a racist comment to him during Monday’s night’s 1-1 draw between the teams, when he scored Derry’s equaliser.

And in a new twist last night the player’s union, the PFAI, has been forced to back out of an involvement in the enquiry into the allegations made by Zayed as both men involved are members and therefore they are unable to represent either party.

That leaves the Football Association of Ireland to investigate the issue and with Shamrock Rovers management insisting that their player is innocent of any charge and the Tallaght club vowing to back the individual, dealing with the matter isn’t going to be straightforward.

“Eamon doesn't want to get involved — but is it right, just to accept it and say nothing?” said Kenny, who is expected to select the striker when Derry host Bohemians in an Airtricity Premier League game at the Brandywell tonight.

“We can't be critical of Eamon for reporting it. The inference is that he somehow concocted the story but, as I said, this is not publicity that he wants.

“My view is that Eamon needs to be protected here. This is publicity that he doesn't want.

“He's an intelligent, educated guy, he has a Masters degree in finance and he has played in the league a long time.

“He volunteers here in Derry, working with a few projects that the club are connected with.

“He'd rather this type of stuff never happened. We fully support Eamon as a team and as a club.”

The FAI's disciplinary committee will decide how to deal with the case. There is a precedent as in 2009, the then Bohemians player Jason McGuinness was banned for five games for making a racist comment towards an opponent from Sligo Rovers, but the big difference in that case was that McGuinness admitted his guilt and accepted his punishment.

“When it happened two years ago at Bohs I felt it was dealt with very well,” said Kenny, who previously managed McGuinness at Bohs. “Jason was tackled, jumped up and said something he shouldn't have. It was a spur of the moment thing, but to go towards someone and say something, that seems pre-meditated, I don't know what was going thorough that player's mind.”

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