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14 Apr, 2021 15:48

‘Should’ve been for life’: UEFA accused of being soft as Slavia star cops 10-MATCH BAN for ‘racist behavior’ towards Rangers rival

‘Should’ve been for life’: UEFA accused of being soft as Slavia star cops 10-MATCH BAN for ‘racist behavior’ towards Rangers rival

UEFA has been accused of leniency despite hitting Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela with a 10-match ban for “racist behavior” towards Glasgow Rangers star Glen Kamara in the teams’ ill-tempered Europa League clash.

In fractious scenes during the round of 16 second leg at Rangers’ Ibrox home in March, Kamara reacted furiously towards the end of the game when Kudela leaned in and uttered something into his ear.

The Finland international later asserted that Kudela had called hima f***ing monkey,” although Slavia vehemently denied the allegations, saying their player had merely sworn at the Rangers man.

READ MORE: Footballer reveals ‘vile’ racism and urges UEFA to end tokenism as teammate calls black players ‘pawns’

UEFA initially handed Czech international Kudela a provisional one-match suspension, which ruled the 34-year-old out of their quarterfinal with Arsenal last week. 

However, after the conclusion of the disciplinary process, the organization has added nine more games to that tally, ruling the defender out of action for club and country in UEFA competition.

Kamara, meanwhile, was handed a three-match ban from UEFA games for assaulting Kudela in the tunnel after the match.

Rangers’ forward Kemar Roofe was slapped with a four-game ban for his dangerous challenge during the match, which left Slavia goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar badly bloodied and with a nasty head gash.  

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In a statement released by his lawyers, Kudela reiterated his innocence and said he was "surprised" by the sanction – but nonetheless apologized to the Rangers star.

"In retrospect, I realize that it was a mistake to go to Glen Kamara at all and tell him anything," Kudela said.

"There were emotions in the match and unfortunately I can't take it back now. I'm so sorry."

Responding to the news that Kudela was being banned and that Kamara was also being sanctioned, some fans and pundits felt the measures were not strong enough.

“I'm guilty of this kind thinking as well. So many times you think to yourself ‘this is a chance for them to send a message’ or ‘this is a chance for them to show how seriously they take it’ Only to be disappointed time and time again,” wrote former Arsenal and England forward Ian Wright.

“Now Kudela has been banned, surely Slavia Prague should receive a sanction of some kind. Their conduct was beyond embarrassing in the days following the incident,” tweeted Athletic writer Richard Amofa.

“Kudela has been banned for 10 games after being found guilty of racist abuse. Yes, just 10 games. UEFA are a disgrace,” fumed Patrick Timmons.

Similar sentiments were echoed by writer Chris Davison, who claimed it was farce that Kamara had been sanctioned for his response to the incident.

Others claimed the verdict “[makes] a mockery of UEFA’s claims on taking racism seriously.”

Elsewhere, people pointed to the harsher sanctions being handed out by the footballing authorities to the likes of Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier for breaching betting regulations by telling a friend he was moving to Spain.

Some even demanded a lifetime ban for the Prague player.

“So what amount of racism warrants a 10-match ban? Is it on a sliding scale? If the player is indeed guilty of racism, then he should be banned for life,” wrote one fan of Rangers' bitter local rivals Celtic.

Others, though, defended the measures, claiming that Kamara should not be allowed to escape scot-free for his tunnel assault. 

The decision means Slavia will be without defensive mainstay Kudela for their quarterfinal second leg with Arsenal in Prague this week, with the tie finely poised at 1-1 following the first leg in London.

Slavia responded to the news with a statement that they "respect the decision," adding that they "apologize to Glen Kamara for a situation that has clearly caused distress to him and his team-mates."

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