GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – Scottish champions Rangers are asking for a “strong and unequivocal” response from UEFA after one of their players said he was racially abused by a Slavia Prague opponent at the end of their match. of the Europa League.
Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara, who is black, told coach Steven Gerrard that Ondřej Kúdela made a racist comment to him in the final moments of Slavia’s 2-0 win at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow on Thursday.
Kúdela approached Kamara during a break in the game, covered his mouth with both hands, and said something in Kamara’s right ear. The Rangers player reacted by pointing at Kúdela as the two parted ways.
Slavia and Kúdela have denied the accusation, and the player said he used offensive but not racial language.
“We refuse to acknowledge any attempts to defend, deflect or deny the abuse that Glen Kamara experienced last night,” Stewart Robertson, managing director of the Glasgow club, said in a statement on Friday.
“UEFA will be aware that the football world is watching,” said Robertson. “We expect a robust and unequivocal response in relation to this incident. You can’t just “sweep under the rug”, we’re not prepared for Glen Kamara to be just another statistic. Enough is enough.”
The Rangers statement added that several other players “have subsequently received racist, threatening and disgusting abuse online.”
After Thursday’s game, Gerrard said he fully supported Kamara.
“I know Glen and trust him 100% and he’s extremely disappointing,” Gerrard said. “Something has to happen quickly, that is above me, but 100% of what happens in the future, I am with Glen Kamara.”
Gerrard, whose team was eliminated with a return loss in the round of 16, described the 25-year-old Kamara as “devastated” by the incident. He said that the Finnish player is “a calm and quiet child.”
UEFA said in a statement on Friday that it is “waiting to receive detailed reports from the referees who were present at the match before commenting further.”
Slavia denied the allegations and claimed that Kamara assaulted Kúdela after the match because the Czech team “were not allowed to enter the locker room.”
“Slavia strongly denies the disgusting accusation of racist behavior by one of the team’s captains, Ondřej Kúdela,” the team said in a statement early Friday morning.
Kúdela, who is white, admits to having uttered an expletive but denied it was racial.
“It was said with emotion, but I absolutely deny that there is anything racist in those words,” Kúdela said as part of the team’s statement.
The team said he was denied access to the locker room immediately after the game and that Kamara hit the 33-year-old defender.
“Ondřej Kúdela was assaulted by player Kamara and hit with his fists on the head when Rangers coach Steven Gerrard witnessed the incident,” the team said. “Even the UEFA representatives who were also present at the scene were surprised by this behavior.”
UEFA added that “it is aware of an incident that occurred in the tunnel after the end of the game and that involved some players from both teams.”
The Rangers finished the game with nine men. Rangers forward Kemar Roofe was sent off shortly after the time his loot hit goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar in the face and head. Kolar left the game and received 10 points.
Kamara had received a yellow card in the first half.
After the Kamara incident, Kúdela received a yellow card, as did Rangers defender Connor Goldson.
The Czech team advanced 3-1 on aggregate to the quarterfinals.
The Scottish Players Union endorsed Kamara, saying on Friday that the incident highlights why players have knelt before matches.
“The racist abuse received by Glen Kamara last night, coupled with the horrific incidents earlier this season involving Nir Bitton, Jonathan Afolabi and Alex Dyer, simply shows more than ever that we must continue to fight racists who adhere to our game. , ”Said Fraser Wishart, executive director of the Professional Footballers Association of Scotland.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.