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.
Slavia file criminal complaint for alleged assault on Kudela
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.”
Steven Gerrard: I 100 per cent believe Glen Kamara
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: I ‘genuinely despise’ Slavia Prague players
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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