Slavia's Ondrej Kudela gets 10-game racism ban; Rangers' Glen Kamara & Kemar Roofe also banned

Rangers' players were left incensed by a comment made to Glenn Kamara by Ondrej Kudela
Rangers' players were left incensed by a comment made to Glen Kamara by Ondrej Kudela

Slavia Prague's Ondrej Kudela has been banned for 10 matches after racially abusing Glen Kamara - with the Rangers midfielder suspended for three games.

The Finn has been found guilty of assaulting Kudela in the tunnel after the sides' stormy Europa League meeting at Ibrox in March, which Slavia won.

Kamara's lawyer, Aamer Anwar, called Kudela's sanction "the barest minimum penalty" and made "a mockery of Uefa's claims on taking racism seriously". He also suggested Kamara's suspension was reduced from five games on appeal.

Rangers striker Kemar Roofe has been banned for four games, too, after Ondrej Kolar suffered a fractured skull in a challenge during the game, with the Ibrox club fined 9,000 euros for failing to control their players.

Roofe and defender Leon Balogun were sent off, and three other players were booked in the stormy last-16 second-leg encounter, which the Czech side won 2-0 to progress 3-1 on aggregate.

Police Scotland are still looking into separate allegations of racial abuse and a reported assault.

Rangers "welcome" Kudela's suspension, which they say "vindicates Glen Kamara's evidence" and "underlines the severity of the comment".

However, they have written to Uefa for clarification on the punishments given to Kamara and Roofe, which they believe to be "severe" and intend to appeal against.

Kudela, meanwhile, said in a statementexternal-link released by his lawyers that he was "surprised" by the verdict and reiterated his innocence.

The centre-back had rejected the "disgusting accusation" of racially abusing Kamara - while covering his mouth - amid a melee in the closing moments of the game, but did admit to swearing at him.

He was provisionally banned for one game pending an investigation by a Uefa ethics and disciplinary inspector.

Consequently, he missed Slavia's 1-1 draw at Arsenal last week and will now also be ineligible for the next nine games played by either Slavia in Europe or the Czech Republic national team, which will almost certainly include the Euros.

The governing body's rules state the punishment for racist abuse should be "at least 10 matches", but Kudela's legal team say they are considering filing an appeal and queried the rigour of the investigation.

"In retrospect, I realise that it was a mistake to go to Glen Kamara at all and tell him anything," the Slavia player said. "There were emotions in the match and unfortunately I can't take it back now. I'm so sorry."

Slavia chairman Jaroslav Tvrdik said the club "respect the decision... and apologise to Glen Kamara for a situation that has clearly caused distress to him and his team-mates".

He added: "I am taking positive steps to prevent such a situation from happening in our club ever again."

The bans received by Kamara and Roofe apply only to Rangers' matches in European competition, with the Ibrox club entering the Champions League at the third qualifying round in the first week of August.

Slavia had asserted that Kudela was subject to a "brutal attack" by Kamara, which was "carried out with full intensity in order to injure and cause physical damage".

They said Uefa delegates witnessed the incident, along with Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

Rangers, who also said several players were racially abused online after the Slavia game, met with Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday.

That followed the club's announcement that their players and staff were boycotting social media for a week due to concerns about how platforms deal with racist abuse.

"It is vital that our players and staff are protected online," read a club statement.

"We outlined our strong belief that social media companies should make it mandatory to provide identification before being able to obtain an account."

Insufficient, weak and disgusting from Uefa - analysis

BBC Scotland chief sports writer Tom English

Ondrej Kudela's 10-game ban is hopelessly and depressingly insufficient but not at all surprising. It is not a deterrent - it is a slap on a wrist.

If you look at the way Uefa has "tackled" racism in the game over many, many years, this will not come as a shock.

There's multiple examples of blatant untrammelled racism being met with insufficient sanctions. This is Slavia's fourth strike.

For Uefa to say it is serious about tackling racism is an affront - it is an insult. Every right-thinking person should be offended by this.

Former Rangers midfielder Charlie Adam

I think it is disgusting from Uefa. This was the opportunity for Uefa to stand up and be counted and it's been weak.

It is a big worry that someone can come over and abuse a player on the pitch and say what he said and only get 10 games. Rangers players got seven games for a situation involving Covid.

Former Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer

It's a disgrace. Uefa have done the minimum they could do and think they have just ticked a box and move on and everyone will just stop thinking about it.

Glen, Steven Gerrard and Rangers Football Club have conducted themselves very well.

We fight this every day. If this was on the street or in any other workforce, Ondrej Kudela would be sacked, but they have just swept it under the carpet.

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