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New York Red Bulls withdraw from Generation Adidas Cup following two incidents of alleged racial abuse

The New York Red Bulls have elected to withdraw from the Generation Adidas Cup following two instances of alleged racial abuse against their players. The GA Cup is a youth tournament including MLS academies and invited clubs from around the world. The Red Bulls U-15s were scheduled to take part in the quarterfinals on Friday, but announced they were withdrawing from the competition.

The first incident took place when u-17 goalkeeper Joshua Grant was allegedly subjected to racist language by a CF Monterrey player on Monday. Then, on Thursday, defender Eric Tai also allegedly faced racial abuse by a player from Hajduk Split. The offending player was sent off by the referee who recognized the language. The U-17s were eliminated in the round of 16 by that same Hajduk Split side, while the U-15s had advanced and were set to face off against Toulouse before they withdrew.

“What has happened these past two games is completely inappropriate and has changed our team forever,” the Red Bulls U-17 players said in a statement on Thursday. “The extreme lack of action taken by the league is unacceptable and has left a feeling of untrust and uncertainty in our safety and well-being while playing in this event and our games back home. We hope this situation will bring light to an ongoing problem in the game of football and in our world.”

Grant also posted a story on Instagram asking the league to take action:

“Why do colored players like myself continue to be called monkeys by international teams?” Grant wrote. “Today [Thursday] the same thing happened to my teammate. Please do something.”

MLS NEXT released a statement following the announcement of the withdrawal.

“Following three allegations of discriminatory language used during two recent GA Cup matches, MLS NEXT immediately investigated and then issued suspensions in accordance with the MLS NEXT Disciplinary Code to the offending individuals for violating the MLS NEXT Safety & Wellbeing Policy. 

“In addition, MLS NEXT immediately made resources available onsite to the affected players and clubs. Due to the minors’ age, further details regarding the individuals involved will not be disclosed. MLS NEXT acknowledges the New York Red Bulls’ decision to withdraw their U-15 and U-17 teams from the tournament and will continue providing all those impacted with the necessary support and resources.

“MLS NEXT remains steadfast in its commitment to eradicating discriminatory and racial incidents at every level of the game and will continue to work with all players to properly educate, train and swiftly address any incidents.”

At the moment, Hajduk Split are still in the tournament while Monterrey were already eliminated. The international clubs to join alongside Monterrey and Hajduk Split this year were Manchester United, Arsenal, River Plate, Flamengo, KRC Genk, Brondby, Nodsjaelland, Valencia, Toluse, Sporting Club Portugal, PSV, AZ Alkmaar, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Necaxa. 

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