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Ondrej Kudela banned for 10 games for “racist behaviour” towards Rangers’ Glen Kamara

Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela has been handed a 10 match ban by UEFA for “racist behaviour” following an incident involving Rangers’ Glen Kamara last month.

Kamara has been banned for three matches by European football’s governing body, “for assaulting another player”.

UEFA confirmed the decision on Wednesday afternoon, following the unsavoury scenes at Ibrox during last month’s Europa League, Round of 16 second leg clash.

A statement said: “Following an investigation conducted by a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector regarding the incidents that occurred during the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League Round of 16 second leg match between Rangers FC and SK Slavia Praha on 18 March 2021, and the subsequent proceedings opened against Mr. Ondřej Kúdela and Mr. Glen Kamara, the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has taken the following decisions:

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  • To suspend SK Slavia Praha player, Mr. Ondřej Kúdela, for the next ten (10) UEFA club and representative team competition matches for which he would otherwise be eligible to play, for racist behaviour, which includes the one-match provisional suspension served by the player during SK Slavia Praha’s 2020/21 UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg match against Arsenal FC on 8 April 2021.

  • To suspend Rangers FC player, Mr. Glen Kamara, for three (3) UEFA club competition matches for which he would otherwise be eligible to play, for assaulting another player.
Glen Kamara alleged Ondrej Kudela used racist language
Glen Kamara alleged Ondrej Kudela used racist language against him during Rangers’ Europa League defeat to Slavia Prague

Kudela missed Slavia’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal in their quarter-final clash last week at the Emirates after being handed a one-match suspension.

He had denied racially abusing Kamara, but admitted a lesser charge of insulting the Finn, with the suspension issued “without prejudice” to any ruling the body might make on the racism allegations.

Rangers' manager Steven Gerrard gestures to Slavia Prague's Ondrej Kudela
Rangers’ manager Steven Gerrard gestures to Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela

In the immediate aftermath of the match, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard called on UEFA to prove they’re serious about racism.

He said at the time: “It’s over to UEFA now, this situation, and I just hope it doesn’t get brushed under the carpet.

“I feel angry right now. It’s difficult to describe how I feel because I know Glen, I trust him 100 percent. It’s extremely disappointing and there’s too much of it happening around football.

“The Slavia player has caused this, caused the situation to escalate even further because straight away the fans join in and the racism just grows and grows and grows.

“Something needs to happen quickly, that is above me. But 100 percent I stand with Glen.

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“The disappointing thing for me is there are people trying to defend the opposition player – calling us liars.

“Sometimes during your career things happen that are more important than the game, that are above football. That’s what happened tonight.”

The decision to sanction Kudela comes after ex-Holland international Clarence Seedorf said players who cover their mouth while talking to an opponent or the referee should be immediately sanctioned.

Seedorf, a former Holland international and four-time Champions League winner, told a Council of Europe meeting on combatting hate speech that stopping players covering their mouths was a simple step which could be taken.

“There is a lot of talk but not enough being done. The need is obvious and very urgent,” he said.

“From a players’ perspective, I have seen stuff with players speaking and covering their mouth during matches. There were some racist situations in the last weeks or months where the players among themselves had hate speeches.

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“Those things can be very easily attacked by implementing some rules. For me it should be abandoned to be able to speak like that when you approach an adversary.

“When we’re talking about sport it has to be completely transparent, so why would I cover my mouth if I need to talk with my adversary?”

He added: “If I want to (cover my mouth to) talk to my coach or a team-mate, all fine, but when I approach the referee or another player in any sport, you are not allowed to cover your mouth, it has to be a sanction, a yellow card.”

Kamara and Rangers teammate Kemar Roofe have been targeted by online racist abuse since the Slavia match.

Last week players and staff at the Glasgow club started a week-long social media boycott in support of them.

Rangers issued a statement on Wednesday to say that club representatives had met with Facebook and Instagram.

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“We outlined our strong belief that social media companies should make it mandatory to provide identification before being able to obtain an account,” the club’s statement read.

“Furthermore, we outlined that young people should be educated and empowered to ensure future generations understand the gravity and impact of their online actions.

“This is a responsibility of social media platforms, but we highlighted that as a club, we are willing to assist.”

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