Slavia Prague have denied allegations that Ondrej Kudela racially abused Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara, and have accused the Finnish midfielder of ‘assaulting’ the defender after the match.
Slavia were 3-1 up on aggregate against the nine-man Scottish champions heading into the dying stages of the Europa League tie on Thursday when Kudela covered his mouth and whispered something into Kamara’s ear.
Whatever he said sparked fury. Kamara reacted angrily, captain Conor Goldson immediately confronted the Slavia player, and manager Steven Gerrard made a point in bringing opposing manager Jindrich Trpisovsky in front of the referee to discuss the incident.
The circumstances led to immediate fears that racist language had been used, and Gerrard said as much after the match.
“He’s been racially abused,” he told BT Sport. “It’s over to UEFA now. I hope it doesn’t get swept under the carpet.
“I’ve built a relationship up with this player over close to three years now, I trust him with my life and I’ll stand toe-to-toe with him and I’ll support him in anything I need to support him.
“The disappointing thing for me is there are people trying to defend the opposition player – calling us liars.
“Some things happen during your own career and during football matches that are bigger than football and unfortunately this game will be soured by that incident.”
In the fall-out of the match, it was reported by Czech media that Kudela, the player who stood accused of racism, had been assaulted in the dressing room, resulting in the police being called to Ibrox. A Slavia statement on Thursday night substantiated those reports, and named Kamara as the alleged attacker.
In a statement denying that any racist language was used, they say: “Slavia resolutely denies the disgusting accusation of one of the team captains Ondřej Kúdela of racist behaviour.
“Today, Slavia is an international club based on respect for our opponents and mutual respect of all people and cultures.
“After one of the brutal fouls, Ondrej Kudela spoke to one of the Rangers players. ‘I told him ‘You f***ing guy’. It was said in emotions, but I absolutely deny there was anything racist in those words.’
“After the end of the game, the team was not allowed to enter the dressing room. Ondřej Kúdela was assaulted by player Kamara and hit with fists in the head when Rangers manager Steven Gerrard witnessed the incident.
“Even the UEFA representatives who were also present on the site of the incident were shocked by this behaviour.”