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Slavia deny racism allegations as Steve Gerrard calls for Uefa action

Rangers v Slavia Prague – UEFA Europa League – Round of Sixteen – Second Leg – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Slavia Prague have rejected Rangers’ allegations of racism levelled against their defender Ondrej Kudela – and claim he was assaulted by Light Blues midfielder Glen Kamara following their explosive Ibrox showdown.

The Czech champions claimed a 2-0 win over Steven Gerrard’s nine-man Rangers to progress to the last eight of the Europa League.

But the game was overshadowed by a race storm in the 87th minute, with Kamara and his Ibrox team-mates reacting furiously after Kudela whispered an alleged offensive slur in the Finland midfielder’s ear.

The incident spilled into a post-match rammy, with Slavia chiefs claiming Kudela was “hit with fists” by Kamara during a bust-up in the tunnel.

Rangers v Slavia Prague – UEFA Europa League – Round of Sixteen – Second Leg – Ibrox Stadium

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard (left) speaks with Slavia Prague manager Jindrich Trpisovsky after the match amid tense scenes at Ibrox (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Slavia officials also hit back at Rangers’ claims, accusing the Ibrox club of “unprecedented malicious play”.

Gers had Kemar Roofe sent off for a shocking studs-first challenge to Slavia keeper Ondrej Kolar’s face – leaving the stopper with a huge head wound – while Leon Balogun also walked after collecting two bookings.

In a statement, Prague bosses said: “The club denies the allegations of racism of one of the team captains Ondrej Kudela.

“Slavia resolutely denies the disgusting accusation of one of the team captains Ondrej Kudela of racist behaviour.”

The statement said that after one of “the brutal fouls”, Kudela spoke to one of the Rangers players. Kudela was quoted in the statement as saying: “I told him ‘You f***ing guy’. It was said in emotions, but I absolutely deny there was anything racist in those words.”

Rangers v Slavia Prague – UEFA Europa League – Round of Sixteen – Second Leg – Ibrox Stadium

Glen Kamara, left, is held back from Kudela as a Uefa official intercedes (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The statement continued: “Slavia players faced an unprecedentedly malicious play from their opponents. They have never experienced such play in any game they participated in the modern history of the European competitions.

“Many brutal tackles resulted in injuries of our players. Goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar travelled to a hospital with ten stitches on his head.

“After the end of the game, the team was not allowed to enter the dressing room.

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“Ondrej Kudela was assaulted by player Kamara and hit with fists in the head with manager Steven Gerrard witnessing the incident.

“Even the UEFA representatives who were also present on the site of the incident were shocked by this behaviour.

“The team is now safe accompanied by the Scottish police.”

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Gerrard insists he will stand shoulder to shoulder with Kamara as he warned Uefa they could not afford to sweep the alleged racist comment “under the carpet”.

The Ibrox boss – who saw Kemar Roofe and Leon Balogun both sent off as goals from Nicolae Stanciu and Peter Olayinka sent the Czechs through – said: “I have a very, very strong relationship with Glen Kamara.

“Glen Kamara to me is one of my own, like the majority, all in that dressing room. I 100 per cent believe what he is saying in terms of the accusation.

“Other players around him heard it so I will stand toe to toe with Glen Kamara and I’ll deal with this however Glen wants to deal with it.

Rangers v Slavia Prague – UEFA Europa League – Round of Sixteen – Second Leg – Ibrox Stadium

Rangers’ Kemar Roofe saw red after this collision with Slavia Prague keeper Ondrej Kolar (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“I am proud of all my players, tonight showing solidarity and from the top of this club to the bottom we stand with the players. This situation is over to Uefa now. I just hope it doesn’t get brushed under the carpet.

“I feel angry. It’s extremely disappointing. There is too much of it happening around football. The Slavia player has caused this and he has also caused a situation like this to escalate even further because straight away you get the fans joining in and the racism grows and grows.

“Something needs to happen quickly. That is above me. But 100 per cent I stand beside Glen Kamara, whatever happens going forward.

“Uefa will take this upon them I’m sure they will speak to both players and we will let other people deal with it. All I can confirm is that my player tells me he was racially abused.”