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Rangers claim Glen Kamara vindicated by 10-game ban handed to Ondrej Kudela

Andy Newport and Jamie Gardner, PA
·5-min read

Rangers say Glen Kamara has been “vindicated” after Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela was handed a 10-game ban by UEFA after being found guilty of racist behaviour towards the Ibrox midfielder.

But Kamara’s lawyer Aamer Anway has accused European football’s governing of issuing a “token” punishment as he insisted Kudela should have been kicked out of football for a year.

The Czech Republic centre-back is set to miss this summer’s Euros after he was punished for whispering a disgraceful slur into Kamara’s ear during last month’s explosive Europa League clash in Glasgow.

Kamara and his Gers team-mates reacted with fury to the incident, with the Finland international later alleging he was called a “ f****** monkey”.

Kudela rejected the claims – which were corroborated by Kamara’s Gers team-mate Bongani Zungu – as he insisted he had only said: “You f****** guy”.

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UEFA’s control, ethics and disciplinary body (CEDB), however, has now backed Kamara’s version of events as it announced Kudela has been found guilty of “racist behaviour”.

In a statement, Rangers said: “We welcome the suspension imposed on Ondrej Kudela. This not only vindicates Glen Kamara’s evidence but underlines the severity of the comment, given the number of games has been imposed by UEFA.”

Rangers have also been sanctioned by European football’s governing body. Kamara has been banned for three matches after being found guilty of assaulting Kudela in the tunnel after the game, while his team-mate Kemar Roofe has been given a four-match suspension for the horror tackle on Ondrej Kolar which left the Slavia keeper with a fractured skull. Rangers have also been given a 9,000 euro fine for failing to control their players as the match boiled over.

Rangers’ statement added: “We believe the sanctions imposed on our two players (Glen Kamara and Kemar Roofe) are severe. We have written to UEFA, seeking clarification in writing on the basis that we intend to appeal the suspensions on both of players.”

Kudela had been handed a provisional one-match ban over a lesser charge of insulting Kamara, and that ban is included within the overall 10-match sanction.

Ondrej Kudela
Ondrej Kudela will miss 10 games after being banned by UEFA (Andrew Milligan/PA)

As it stands, Kudela will miss the remainder of Slavia’s Europa League campaign – they play the second leg of their quarter-final tie against Arsenal on Thursday night – and will also be ruled out as the Czechs kick-off their Euro 2020 campaign – which includes group games with Scotland and England.

Kamara’s ban only covers UEFA club competitions, meaning he will be eligible to represent Finland at the Euros.

But while Rangers welcomed Kudela’s punishment, Kamara’s lawyer Anwar said the 10-game ban – which is the minimum sanction for a racist offence – “made a mockery” of UEFA’s claims to take racism seriously.

In a statement, he said: “UEFA should have imposed a minimum year-long ban rather than a tokenistic 10-match ban.

“Under the UEFA disciplinary regulations Kudela could have been banned for ‘at least 10 matches or a specified period of time’, and we firmly believe that UEFA should have made use of the significant discretion available to them, to send a far stronger message that this type of abhorrent conduct will not be tolerated on the football field.

“There is no other workplace within which such racist behaviour would be tolerated. Sadly UEFA once again has made a mockery of their claims that they want to kick racism out of football.

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“Ondrej Kudela acted in a grotesque and racist manner, but his behaviour was compounded by his club Slavia Prague, who implied that my client Glen was a liar.

“Kudela’s racist behaviour has consequences and it has incited the fans of Slavia Prague, who went on to subject Glen Kamara to horrendous racism on a daily basis.

“There is no excuse or justification for racism on or off the playing field, and it really is time for the footballing community to take action against clubs, fans and social media that perpetuate racism.”

Show Racism the Red Card agreed, tweeting: “UEFA handing Ondrej Kudela a 10-match ban after he whispered racist abuse into the ear of Glen Kamara is wildly insufficient. Players can wear ‘respect’ on their arms, but without zero tolerance of racist abuse, it stands as an empty gesture.”

Kick It Out’s Head of Player Engagement, Troy Townsend, said while he welcomed the sanction, he believed Kudela should now be subject to criminal charges.

“Racist abuse wouldn’t be tolerated in the workplace and it shouldn’t be tolerated on the football pitch either,” said Townsend.

“We’d like to see the appropriate action taken by the police, as if Kudela is found guilty of racial abuse, then the law should absolutely apply here.”

Slavia preceded their pre-match press conference for their game against Arsenal by maintaining they would only take questions about the game, but later added that they would “maybe provide further comments” afterwards.

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But in a statement, the Czech champions issued an apology to Kamara.

Slavia chairman Jaroslav Tvrdik said: “Ondrej was suspended for 10 UEFA games and as a club we respect the decision. In any case, Ondrej Kudela should not have approached the opposition player. I deeply regret that and apologise to Glen Kamara for a situation that has clearly caused distress to him and his team-mates, as well as everyone associated with Slavia and Rangers.

“I am taking positive steps to prevent such a situation from happening in our club ever again.”

Kamara said last week he had been racially abused on social media “every day” since the Kudela incident. His team-mates have boycotted the platforms for a week in support.

Police Scotland’s separate investigation into Kudela’s actions and events in the tunnel after the match is ongoing, the force have confirmed.