Rangers player alleges ‘vile racist abuse’ by Czech opponent
GLASGOW: Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara has accused a Slavia Prague opponent of “willful and premeditated” racial abuse, calling defender Ondřej Kudela’s refusal a “total lie”.
Kamara released a statement after UEFA announced it would investigate incidents in the Europa League game between Rangers and Slavia on Thursday. The Czech team want the Scottish police to investigate an alleged physical assault after the game against Kudela.
Late in Slavia’s 2-0 win, Kudela covered her mouth with both hands and said something in Kamara’s ear during a stoppage of play.
Kamara, who is black, said it was racist language that was audible to a nearby teammate. Kudela admitted swearing against the 25-year-old Finnish player, but denied any racial abuse.
“I was shocked and horrified to hear such racist abuse from a professional football player,” Kamara said in a statement issued by his lawyer.
“Ondrej’s (Kudela) vile racist abuse has taken place on the international stage, and any failure to act by UEFA will be seen as a green light for racism,” he said.
Kudela had argued with another Rangers player when Kamara said he tried to intervene.
Kamara said: “He told me to shut up, then said ‘wait a second my friend’, before approaching and allegedly making the racist remark. He described Kudela’s actions as “deliberate and premeditated”.
Slavia denied the allegations and claimed Kamara punched 33-year-old Kudela after the game as the Czech side “were not allowed to enter the locker room” at Ibrox Stadium.
“Slavia resolutely denies the disgusting accusation by one of the team captains Ondřej Kúdela of racist behavior,” the team said in a statement.
Kudela, who is white, only admits having sworn against Kamara.
“It was said with emotion, but I absolutely deny that there is anything racist about those words,” Kudela said as part of the team’s statement.
Kudela’s explanation, Kamara said, is a “complete lie that does not stand up to any form of scrutiny.”
The Czech team advanced 3-1 on aggregate to the quarter-finals of the Europa League and will face Arsenal.
Slavia said he filed a criminal complaint with Scottish Police for physical assault on Kúdela, although he did not identify any Rangers player.
“The assault was brutal and carried out with all force with the intention of injuring and physically injuring our player,” said the team.
UEFA opened an investigation on Friday and appointed a disciplinary inspector to collect evidence after earlier saying it was awaiting reports from match officials.
“Further information regarding this investigation will be available in due course,” UEFA said in a statement.