Slavia Prague have attempted to “deflect” claims from Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara that he suffered “vile racist abuse” from Ondrej Kudela on Thursday night.
Kamara claims he was subjected to the racial abuse during Slavia Prague’s 2-0 Europa League win.
Kudela was seen whispering in the ear of Kamara in the closing stages of the game. That prompted an angry reaction from the Gers man. An on-pitch altercation between the pair ensued, with both sets of players involved.
Kamara has issued a statement in which he gave a graphic account of the alleged incident – which Kudela denies.
It came hours after Slavia asked police to investigate allegations that a Rangers player carried out an assault in the tunnel. Slavia also claimed Gers boss Steven Gerrard is a key witness.
In the statement Kamara said: “If UEFA genuinely wants to ‘show racism the red card’, then it’s time to stop the tokenism and take a zero-tolerance approach.
“As a player I do not expect myself, nor any other to have to tolerate racial hatred on or off the pitch in 2021.
“The vile racist abuse by Ondrej Kedel [sic] took place on the international stage, and any failure to act by UEFA will be viewed as a green light for racism.”
Kamara had to be held back by team-mates as he reacted with fury when Kudela wandered alongside him, before allegedly whispering “you’re a f****** monkey, you know you are”, according to the Finn’s statement.
The match was played to a finish as the Light Blues opted against walking off in protest.
Gerrard and Rangers chairman Douglas Park, however, were later seen confronting the Slavia delegation after the full-time whistle.
Slavia say a Rangers player landed a punch on Kudela as the altercation spilled over into the tunnel. Rangers though maintain has been made in order to deflect from the racism storm.
UEFA has already announced it will be investigating the game – but Slavia are also demanding that police officers probe events.
In a statement, the Czechs – who now will face Arsenal in the Europa League last eight – said: “Slavia Prague filed a criminal complaint with the Scottish Police through the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Great Britain for physically assaulting player Ondrej Kudela.
“The submission contains the names of witnesses who, in addition to representatives of Slavia Prague, were also representatives of the UEFA delegation and Rangers coach Steven Gerrard.”
Rangers have opted not to respond to the latest development. But managing director Stewart Robertson earlier released a statement insisting the club will object to any attempt to “deflect” away from the alleged racial abuse aimed at Kamara.
Gerrard has already warned UEFA it must not allow the claims to be “brushed under the carpet”.
And Robertson has also turned up the heat on European football’s governing body as he insisted “enough is enough”.
He said in a statement: “The racist abuse suffered by Glen Kamara will not be tolerated by Rangers. As a club, we stand resolutely behind Glen as we support him and his team-mates.
“Several of our players have subsequently received racist, threatening and sickening abuse online. This is abhorrent and once again highlights the responsibility social media outlets have in eradicating abuse from faceless cowards.
“We refuse to acknowledge any attempt to defend, deflect or deny the abuse Glen Kamara experienced last night.
“This incident has been reported to the UEFA match delegate. We understand that it has formed part of his match report.
“UEFA will be well aware the football world is watching. We expect a robust and unequivocal response in relation to this incident. It cannot be merely ‘swept under the carpet’ – we are not prepared for Glen Kamara to be yet another statistic. Enough is enough.”
UEFA said it was “aware of an incident which occurred in the tunnel after the end of the match”. They later confirmed an investigation had been launched.
Slavia were quick to deny the allegations, issuing a statement which said Kudela had only called Kamara a “f****** guy”.
But they launched into a stinging criticism of Rangers and their “unprecedentedly malicious play” and “brutal tackles”.
Ondrej Kolar was left with a fractured skull and 10 stitches after Kemar Roofe planted his studs into the Slavia keeper’s face. Leon Balogun was also dismissed after collecting two bookings.
The Czech league leaders later issued another statement defending their player against Kamara’s claims.
“Ondrej Kudela is one of the team captains elected in secret polls by the players who choose characters that enjoy their trust,” it said. “He is a football gentleman and categorically denies and refutes any allegations of racism.
“We are shocked that his reputation and the club’s reputation are being smeared without a single piece of evidence. The only ‘alleged’ evidence is the player covering his mouth. Which Ondrej does on a regular basis when he talks to his team-mates during our games.
“Under the patronage and in the presence of the UEFA delegation, the coaches of both teams, Ondrej Kudela and Glen Kamara met. After the arrival of Slavia representatives, Ondrej was physically abused by the player of Rangers who then fled into the locker rooms followed by the manager Steven Gerrard without a single word of apology.
“We have felt a great respect to Rangers for their recent football performance and glorious history. However, we wish for a UEFA investigation into all incidents related to the recent match and will fully co-operate.”
Police Scotland told the PA news agency on Friday evening that they have not heard anything from either club yet.