Allegations that Rangers’ Glen Kamara was targeted by schoolchildren at Sparta Prague have been called “desperate and ridiculous” by the Czech club.
Boos were audible when Kamara touched the ball, more so than any other Rangers player, as Sparta claimed a 1-0 Europa League victory.
The match was played in front of 10,000 children and their companions due to a UEFA exemption despite the closure of the Letna stadium in Sparta for another racist incident – when Monegasque AurÃ©lien Tchouameni was abused in the stands last season.
Rangers coach Steven Gerrard called for tougher penalties, while Kamara’s lawyer called UEFA a “disgrace”.
Sparta has since issued a statement, calling the charges of racism “baseless … desperate and ridiculous”.
The incident came five months after Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela was suspended for 10 matches after being found guilty by UEFA of racist behavior towards Kamara, who himself received a three-match suspension for an alleged assault on the Czech player in the Ibrox tunnel.
Why were some fans allowed in?
UEFA’s disciplinary regulations for closed-door matches state: “Unless the competent disciplinary body decides otherwise, no one is allowed to attend a match which will be played behind-camera, with the exception of:. .. h. children up to the age of 14 (duly accompanied) from football schools and / or academies invited to the match free of charge. “
Kamara was sent off in the 74th minute, to cheers from the crowd, after receiving his second yellow card for an aerial challenge in what seemed like a difficult decision.
The UEFA disciplinary body said Sky Sports News he is awaiting reports from delegates and officials for Thursday’s game before deciding whether action will be taken.
Asked about the taunts Kamara has faced, Gerrard told a press conference Thursday night: âDuring the game I was not in the know. I obviously focused on the game and the tactical changes I was facing. ‘was trying to think to give it a try and get back into the game as we were lagging behind. “
However, Gerrard confirmed on Friday that he heard the boos when he watched the game again.
âI am fully aware now, after watching the game with the audio,â he said. “I’m actually surprised I didn’t realize it during the game.
“I spoke to Glen Kamara – this conversation will be kept private. Glen is fine. I’m sure he’s disappointed and so am I. Now I think it’s time for the authorities and the club to step in and to pull this off so we can focus on Sunday’s game.
âThere are hundreds of thousands and maybe more people who are frustrated because these things keep raising their heads far too often. Unfortunately, the punishment is not enough. I said last night that we have to do it. more. This is the only way to eradicate it because the punishments are nowhere near severe enough. “
Gerrard also said “the wheels are already moving” for the Rangers to officially contact UEFA about it.
“I have been told that Rangers will discuss this with UEFA. I think those wheels are already moving. I will definitely push for that,” he added.
In a statement, Sparta said it was “absolutely unbelievable that after a game we have to see innocent children being attacked and facing baseless accusations of racism”.
The club added: “Insulting children on the Internet and in the media is unacceptable, desperate and ridiculous … Stop attacking our children! Our club will proudly stand up for our children – our future and our pride. Slandering children on the Internet is extremely loose.
“We call on the representatives of Rangers FC to do their part to stop the xenophobic atmosphere directed against our children, our beautiful country and its people.”
Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek summoned the British Ambassador to the charges.
He wrote on Twitter: “Enough! The intentional spreading of loathsome insults against Czech children in the media and on the Internet does not belong to football, let alone good relations between two countries.”
In response, Kamara’s attorney, Aamer Anwar, said in a statement: âGlen is a total professional, but no one should have to put up with racism on or off the pitch.
“There is no point in displaying banners proclaiming respect and unity against racism, when UEFA does very little to combat racism in stadiums.
âRegarding the Sparta Prague statement, I am not commenting on personal abuse and attacks, maybe it would be better for the club to start fighting racism.
“I also see the Czech Foreign Minister summoned the UK Ambassador on Monday to discuss ‘insults’ about Czech children, maybe his government should take the opportunity to tackle racism deeply rooted that exists in their country. “
And a statement from PFA Scotland said in part: “We condemn in the strongest terms the abuse Glen Kamara suffered last night in Rangers’ UEFA League game against Sparta Prague.
“As we all know, this is not the first time Glen has suffered sickening abuse on the pitch, but the fact that this time it is coming from the mouths of children through sustained boos is more than alarming. and only reinforces the call for greater sanctions from UEFA for this type of behavior.
âThere is no place for that in football or in the modern world.
“Last night’s events in Prague, as well as similar incidents in other UEFA Europa League matches, prove without doubt that racism and discrimination are a global problem and a common approach at the highest levels, both within football and in governments around the world, is urgently needed to eradicate it.
“We are not blind to the problems in our own country, including racism, discrimination and bigotry. In recent weeks we have seen players of all skill levels or of the game being subjected to racist abuse from our stands – this MUST stop. “
Kamara’s lawyer: let’s be frank, UEFA is a disgrace
Kamara’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said Sparta Prague should be embarrassed by the behavior of their supporters and that Thursday’s scenes once again highlighted Czech football’s “deeply rooted problem with racism”.
Talk to Sky Sports News, Anwar also accused UEFA of not taking sufficient action against racism.
He said, “Let’s be frank, they [UEFA] are a shame. They don’t take action every opportunity. They like to talk about respect – where was the respect for Glen Kamara? Where was the respect for black Rangers players and every time another black player comes on the field to be mistreated in this way? It is their place of work.
“Glen Kamara, and no other player, should be subjected to such abuse every time he ventures out.”
Anwar released a statement Thursday evening criticizing Sparta Prague and revealed that he was subsequently subjected to a number of racist posts on social media.
“When will UEFA say enough is enough?” he said. âThere is no point in talking about respect, carrying banners and saying that you are against racism.
“I’m sure Glen Kamara, his teammates and Steven Gerrard don’t want to talk about racism. They want to talk about football.”
Sky Sports News contacted UEFA for a response.