Rangers midfielder releases statement with fresh claims about Ondrej Kudela; Slavia Prague player earlier said: "I absolutely deny there was anything racist to those words"; warning - the following article includes racist language that some readers may find distressing
Saturday 20 March 2021 20:26, UK
Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara has revealed the extent of the alleged racial abuse he received from a Slavia Prague player during Thursday's Europa League tie.
Kamara has claimed that Slavia defender Ondrej Kudela covered his mouth with his hand before racially abusing him in Rangers' 2-0 defeat in their last-16, second leg tie at Ibrox.
In a statement released on Slavia's English language website earlier on Friday, centre-back Ondrej Kudela admitted he had used offensive language but denied using racist language.
In a statement released through his lawyer, Kamara said: "There is no place for racism or any form of bigotry in football. Since [the] summer many of us have taken the knee in solidarity with those who have lost their lives to racial violence.
"If UEFA genuinely wants to "show racism the red card", then it's time to stop the tokenism and take a zero-tolerance approach.
"As a player I do not expect myself, nor any other to have to tolerate racial hatred on or off the pitch in 2021.
"The vile racist abuse by Ondrej Kudela, took place on the international stage, and any failure to act by UEFA will be viewed as a greenlight for racism.
"During yesterday's match with Slavia Prague, Kudela was arguing with a Rangers player and after I tried to intervene, he told me to shut up and then said 'one second my friend'.
"He then came over to me covering his mouth, leaning into my ear, he uttered the words - 'You're a f****** monkey, you know you are'.
"I was shocked and horrified to hear such racist abuse from a professional football player.
"Kudela's claim he simply swore at me and said "You're a f****** guy" is a complete utter lie which does not stand up to any form of scrutiny.
"Kudela's actions were deliberate and premeditated, but he was loud enough for my team-mate Bongani Zungu to hear what was said.
"I am grateful for the unconditional support of my team, our club and especially our manager Steven Gerrard.
"I want to thank not just our Rangers fans, but the many fans from across the football community and beyond, for calling out racism not just against myself, but also fellow player Kemar Roofe, who was subjected to a tirade of racist bile on Instagram.
"We as black players are sick of the freedom that such bigots are given to parade their hatred on social media and wonder when the likes of Instagram will start to take action."
Sky Sports News has requested a response from Slavia Prague.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Kamara's lawyer Aamer Anwar described Slavia Prague's defence of Kudela as "nonsensical", and says the Rangers midfielder is seeking a "robust investigation" from UEFA into the incident.
"For far too long the responses that black players have got after been subjected to racist abuse from fans or players has been extremely tokenistic. What Glen wants to see is a robust investigation, exemplary sanctions to be taken against the player, and, if necessary, against the club.
"I also note the denial by Slavia Prague who claim Glen was not [racially abused] by this player and I have to say the defence is nonsensical.
"What happened at the match was that this player said something along the lines of 'just wait a second my friend', he then leaned over, cupped his mouth and then spoke into Glen's ear and using expletives called him a monkey.
"The defence that Prague then turn round and say that he didn't actually say that, that he used an expletive and called him a guy. It's just nonsense."
Meanwhile, Slavia Prague chairman Jaroslav Tvrdik says he is "ashamed" of an offensive picture posted by a group of the club's fans on social media.
The picture that emerged on Instagram shows people holding a banner containing a racist word about Kamara.
The official English language Slavia Prague Twitter account retweeted Tvrdik, head of the board of directors at the Czech champions, who labelled the image "disgusting, embarrassing, racist".
That was followed by a statement from the club via the same official Twitter account on Saturday which also condemned the picture posted to social media.
"The club is absolutely disgusted by the racist photograph published online by a group of alleged "fans" on Friday night," it read.
"We condemn this act as totally unacceptable, and we distance ourselves from it. It is an unprecedented backstabbing of the club and its ideals.
"SK Slavia Praha has filed a criminal complaint against unknown individuals involved in the preparation and publishing of the picture. The club will launch its own inquiry into this matter in order to identify those individuals.
"Racism has no room in our club, and we have been fighting against it for a long time. Every player is considered a member of our family, no matter what the colour of their skin, their nationality, cultural background, or religion is.
"We fully support our players in their current fight against racism and against the above mentioned picture on the social media.
"Slavia has great fans who many times managed to amaze the football world in a positive way. We ask them to join us, and publicly sign up to zero tolerance of racism and condemn such behaviour.
"Let's present the real, cultivated, and noble Slavia we are all proud of."
Slavia have alleged Kudela was assaulted in the tunnel after the game, with the club announcing they have filed a criminal complaint with the Czech Embassy in London, who they say will submit the club's grievance to Scottish police. UEFA have launched an investigation of their own into Thursday's events at Ibrox.
In a statement, Prague bosses said: "Slavia resolutely denies the disgusting accusation of one of the team captains Ondrej Kudela of racist behaviour.
The statement said that after one of "the brutal fouls", Kudela spoke to one of the Rangers players. Kudela was quoted in the statement as saying: "I told him 'You f***ing guy'. It was said in emotions, but I absolutely deny there was anything racist in those words."
Speaking after the highly-charged game, Gerrard gave his full backing to Finland international Kamara and urged UEFA to investigate the alleged racist abuse of his player.
"Glen Kamara to me is one of my own, like all of them in that dressing room," said Gerrard.
"I 100 per cent believe him, what he's saying in terms of the accusation. Other players around it heard it. I will stand toe-to-toe with Glen Kamara."
Connor Goldson, who was booked for his part in the controversial closing stages to the game, told Sky Sports: "I'm really proud of the way the club handled it, but I don't think I've ever had hatred on a football pitch like I did yesterday.
"I've never really been angry on a football pitch to that extent. But I genuinely despise them."
Rangers' managing director, Stewart Robertson, said: "The racist abuse suffered by Glen Kamara will not be tolerated by Rangers. As a club, we stand resolutely behind Glen as we support him and his team-mates.
"We stand behind each and every one of our players. Regardless of race, religion, colour or creed - if you wear the famous blue of Rangers FC, you are one of our own. Everyone, Anyone.
"Several of our players have subsequently received racist, threatening and sickening abuse online. This is abhorrent and once again highlights the responsibility social media outlets have in eradicating abuse from faceless cowards.
"We refuse to acknowledge any attempt to defend, deflect or deny the abuse Glen Kamara experienced last night.
"UEFA will be well aware the football world is watching. We expect a robust and unequivocal response in relation to this incident. It cannot be merely 'swept under the carpet'- we are not prepared for Glen Kamara to be yet another statistic. Enough is enough."
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