Zeman slams UEFA over Kudela racism ban
The Czech president’s office said Thursday it had complained to UEFA over the 10-match ban for Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela for racially abusing Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara.
Kudela cupped his hand when he made the remark to Finnish player Kamara at the end of a Europa League last 16 game at Ibrox on March 18.
Kamara, who insisted Kudela had racially abused him, was on Wednesday handed a three-match ban for attacking the Slavia player after the game which Slavia won 2-0 to give them a 3-1 victory on aggregate.
In a stormy match, Rangers striker Kemar Roofe was banned for four games for a high challenge on Slavia goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar which left Kolar with a skull fracture.
Vladimir Mynar, heading the office of Czech President Milos Zeman, said in a letter to UEFA’s disciplinary body that Kudela’s ban was disproportionately high compared to those for the Rangers players.
“I want to point out the racism charges were not proven. Even a UEFA inspector questioned whether Ondrej Kudela uttered the racist remark,” wrote Mynar, who is a Slavia fan.
“You have sentenced a decent man without a single proof… only to fulfil the pervert expectations of a narrow group of activists and of a club unable to win on the pitch.”
“In your hands, the fight against racism has turned into… hypocrisy, positive discrimination and ridiculous bowing to silly trends,” Mynar added.
He said Zeman, a veteran left-winger with a soft spot for Russia and China, had expressed sympathies to all Czech citizens who are disappointed with the decision.
Rangers said Wednesday Kamara’s claims were “vindicated” by the Kudela verdict, but complained the bans handed to Kamara and Roofe were “severe”.
Kudela, a 34-year-old Czech international, will likely miss Euro 2020 because of the ban.
His lawyers said Wednesday he would contemplate an appeal, while Slavia chairman Jaroslav Tvrdik apologised to Kamara for the “distress caused to him and his teammates.”
“We as a club have shed too much blood in this war with UEFA/Great Britain, which we cannot win,” Tvrdik said on Twitter on Thursday, calling for a truce.
Slavia face English side Arsenal in Prague in the second leg of the Europa League quarter-final on Thursday. The two clubs drew 1-1 in London last week.