Young midfielder Fin Conchie has been stood down from the Wellington Phoenix reserves team indefinitely, pending disciplinary action from Capital Football.
Conchie, 19, has admitted to verbally abusing a Petone FC player in the second-half of the reserves’ Central League match at Memorial Park on Saturday evening.
While the match officials didn’t hear what was said, Conchie has informed the club his comments were homophobic.
The New Zealand U-20 international met with Phoenix staff today to apologise for his behaviour.
“Fin is very apologetic and accepts his comments are completely unacceptable,” director of football Shaun Gill said.
“Homophobic abuse or abuse of any kind simply isn’t tolerated and in no way reflects the values of the club.
“Fin acknowledges this and is prepared to accept any punishment that comes his way.
“He is genuinely sorry for what he’s said and wants to own his mistake. Fin has agreed for us to speak out publicly so his teammates aren’t suspected of doing anything wrong.”
While the Phoenix believe Conchie’s actions are out of character and aren’t reflective of the club’s culture, it will review its processes to ensure homophobic abuse is stamped out of football.
“We believe there needs to be further education for our young footballers in Aotearoa,” Gill said.
“We have a sports psychologist and a chaplain at the academy, but it’s clear we need to do more.
“We will review all of our processes and will work with Rainbow Youth to ensure we’re better at educating our young players.”
While Fin Conchie will be unable to play for the Phoenix reserves for the foreseeable future, he will continue to train with the reserves and the first team.
“Fin is still part of our club and we recognise we have a duty of care to continue to support him in his personal development.
“He is a young man who has made a mistake, but we as a club are also responsible so we’ll work together to ensure there’s no repeat of such behaviour at the Wellington Phoenix.”