NYON: 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 said through 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 had already been banned provisionally for one game pending the UEFA investigation.
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 Euro finals.
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.
Kudela added: “In retrospect, I realise that it was a mistake to go to Glen Kamara at all and tell him anything. 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.
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:
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.