Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela was reportedly ‘attacked by fists and left bloodied in the tunnel’ following an allegation of racial abuse made towards him by Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard urged UEFA – who have launched an investigation – to take swift and decisive against the Slavia player after the Finnish international was left devastated by the incident.
Yet further reports emerging from the Czech Republic state that Kudela was ‘attacked by fists and beaten in the tunnel’ after the match, as angry scenes erupted following the full-time whistle.
Czech outlet Seznam Zprávy adds that the police were called and under their escort, the players left for the hotel. However, the report details that Slavia have also reported the incident to the Czech embassy, with Czech ambassador to the UK Libor Secka looking into the details.
Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela (R) was reportedly ‘attacked by fists and beaten in the tunnel’ following an allegation of racial abuse made towards him by Rangers’ Glen Kamara (L)
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard urged UEFA to take swift and decisive against the Slavia player
Rangers boss Gerrard gestures towards Kudela at the end of a fractious night of action
Angry scenes ensued during the latter stages of the Europa last-16 tie at Ibrox on Thursday
In a tweet, Slavia president Jaroslav Tvrdik denied the allegation of racist abuse and claimed the Czech champions called in Police Scotland after Kudela was ‘physically attacked.’
‘Slavia categorically denies the fact that the player Ondrej Kudela racially (sic) insulted the players’ opponents in any way,’ write Tvrdik.
‘Our player was physically attacked after the match. At the request of Slavia, the case was resolved by the local police. We would like to see a detailed investigation of the whole situation by UEFA.’
The Ibrox club crashed out of the Europa League after second-half red cards for substitute Kemar Roofe and Leon Balogun witnessed a night of misery end in a 2-0 defeat – 3-1 on aggregate.
Slavia president Jaroslav Tvrdik denied the allegation of racist abuse on social media
The game itself was overshadowed, however, by allegations of racism and management and players from both clubs bickering after the final whistle.
Captain Connor Goldson remonstrated with Kudela before Kamara was dragged down the tunnel at full-time, as he waited for his abuser.
Gerrard then took a party of Slavia officials to task on the pitch as angry scenes raged in the tunnel area long after the final whistle.
UEFA immediately launched an investigation after goals from Peter Olayinka and Nicolae Stanciu ended Rangers’ hopes of reaching the last eight, with Gerrard saying: ‘First I’ll deal with the football side, we were beaten by the better team over the two legs.
Connor Goldson (centre) remonstrated with Kudela (third-right) as tempers flared at Ibrox
‘Congratulations to Slavia, they deserved it over the two games. In no way, shape or form do we sit here and be bad losers, coming out with excuses.
‘In terms of the other incident, I have to be very careful what I say. But you build relationships in football. I have a very, very strong relationship with Glen Kamara.
‘I 100 per cent believe what he is saying in terms of the accusation. Other players around him heard it so I will stand toe-to-toe with Glen Kamara and I’ll deal with this however Glen wants to deal with it.
‘I am proud of all my players, tonight showing solidarity and from the top of this club to the bottom we stand with the players. This situation is over to UEFA now. I just hope it doesn’t get brushed under the carpet.’
Gerrard was involved in heated discussions with Kudela and Slavia officials on the touchline
It’s understood neither the match officials or the VAR monitors detected any racist abuse. Incensed by the Slavia player covering his mouth to lean in to Kamara’s ear, an emotional Gerrard added: ‘I feel angry. It’s extremely disappointing. There is too much of it happening around football.
‘Something needs to happen quickly. That is above me. But 100 per cent I stand beside Glen Kamara, whatever happens going forward.
‘UEFA will take this upon them I’m sure they will speak to both players and we will let other people deal with it. All I can confirm is that my player tells me he was racially abused. I tried to call Glen over during the game, he didn’t come over.’
Denying claims that captain Goldson was close to marching the Rangers players off the pitch, Gerrard responded: ‘I was going to ask him did he want to leave the pitch and I would have backed him whatever his decision was but the payers stayed on the pitch, that was their decision and the game came to a conclusion.
Gerrard has words with Slavia Prague coach Jindnch Trpisovsky on the pitch during the melee
‘This will be taken out of my hands now and dealt with by UEFA. I just hope with all my heart that people deal with it because that situation was not normal. If I wanted to say something to you on a football pitch, why do I need to cover my mouth and go to the ear?
‘The game’s done in terms of the result at the time – we have nine men they are 2-0 up. There is absolutely no need for it.
‘The disappointing thing for me is there is people trying to defend the opposition player. Their people are trying to defend it, trying to defend him, calling us liars. That’s for other people to deal with – all I say now is that I stand by Glen Kamara 100 per cent.’
After a 1-1 draw in Prague, Slavia cancelled out the away goal advantage with a fizzing header from Olayinka early on.
The Rangers boss in conversation with Slavia officials after the scuffle broke out on the field
Rangers finished the game with nine players after substitute Roofe lasted just seven minutes before being dismissed for a dangerous high challenge which saw Slavia keeper Ondrej Kolar stretchered off.
Defender Leon Balogun also earned a second yellow card for the challenge which ended with Stanciu smashing his seventh goal in five games, from a stunning 25-yard free kick.
‘From a football point of view we have no complaints,’ added Gerrard. ‘We hold our hands up. We were beaten by the better team over two legs. Kemar deserved the red card, if he goes with his head the situation could have been different.
‘The big turning point in terms of the outcome was the red card. And then we obviously get another one late on.
Slavia players celebrate at full-time after progressing to the Europa League quarter-finals
‘But there will be a time and a place to talk about this game in detail and a time and a place to analyse the game. But right now, I can’t get the incident near the end of the game out of my system.’
After the bitter disappointment of a European exit, Rangers now face an Old Firm meeting with Celtic at Parkhead on Sunday lunchtime.
‘Come kick-off on Sunday we’ll be ready,’ said the Ibrox boss. ‘We’ll have a team out there ready to win an Old Firm. We’ll be right up for it. That’s my job to pick them up.’