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Rangers boss Gerrard demands UEFA act on racist abuse claim as Slavia allege player was attacked

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 19 Mar 2021

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Steven Gerrard backed Glen Kamara “100 per cent” after the Rangers midfielder alleged he was racially abused during Thursday’s Europa League clash with Slavia Prague.

Freshly crowned Scottish champions Rangers slipped out of Europe with a 2-0 defeat at Ibrox – their first home loss of the season – sealing a 3-1 aggregate reverse.

Rangers had Kemar Roofe and Leon Balogun sent off in an ill-tempered contest which culminated in a fracas between both sets of players late on.

The uproar followed on from an incident between Kamara and Slavia defender Ondrej Kudela, who covered his mouth and leaned towards the Rangers man before appearing to say something which sparked fury from both Kamara and his nearby team-mate Joe Aribo.

Rangers’ stand-in captain Connor Goldson subsequently confronted Kudela and the referee Orel Grinfeld, who issued the pair a booking each. After a lengthy stoppage, the game continued, with Gerrard then speaking to his counterpart Jindrich Trpisovsky on the pitch at full-time.

Gerrard and Trpisovsky, along with officials from each club and UEFA, were involved in what appeared to be a heated debate on the touchline some time after the final whistle.

Slavia later firmly denied Kudela had been involved in any incident of racist abuse and reported their player had been attacked following the game, saying police were called.

In his post-match news conference, Gerrard confirmed Kamara claimed to have been racially abused, and the Liverpool legend called on UEFA to act decisively.

“You build relationships in football and I’ve built a very strong relationship with Glen Kamara,” Gerrard said.

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

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

“It’s up to UEFA, now, and I just hope it doesn’t get brushed under the carpet. I feel angry, now. It’s difficult to describe how I feel because I know Glen, I trust him 100 per cent. It’s extremely disappointing.”

Slavia chairman Jaroslav Tvrdik responded to the allegations with a strenuous denial of any racism from the visiting team.

Tvrdik wrote on Twitter: “Slavia categorically opposes the fact that the player Ondrej Kudela racially insulted the opponent’s player in any way.”

He added: “It shocks us that our player was physically attacked after the match. At the request of Slavia, the case was resolved by the local police. We would like to see a detailed investigation of the whole situation by UEFA.”

Tvrdik defended Kudela’s character, saying: “I’m sure I don’t know a more decent and modest person than Ondra.”

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