GLASGOW, Scotland — Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara has accused a Slavia Prague opponent of “deliberate and premeditated” racial abuse, dismissing defender Ondrej Kedela’s denial as an “utter lie.”
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Kamara issued a statement late Friday after UEFA announced it would investigate incidents from the Europa League match between Rangers and Slavia Prague on Thursday. The Czech team wants Scottish police to investigate an alleged postgame physical assault on Kudela.
Late in Slavia’s 2-0 victory, Kudela covered his mouth with both hands and said something into Kamara’s ear during a stoppage in play.
Kamara, who is Black, said it was racist language that was audible to a nearby teammate. Kudela acknowledged swearing at the 25-year-old Finnish player but denied any racial abuse.
“I was shocked and horrified to hear such racist abuse from a professional football player,” Kamara said in a statement released by his lawyer.
“The vile racist abuse by Ondrej (Kudela) took place on the international stage, and any failure to act by UEFA will be viewed as a green light for racism,” he said.
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Kudela had been arguing with another Rangers player when Kamara said he tried to intervene.
Kamara said, “He told me to shut up and and then said ‘one second my friend,’” before approaching and allegedly uttering the racist remark. He described Kudela’s actions as “deliberate and premeditated.”
Slavia denied the allegations and claimed Kamara punched the 33-year-old Kudela after the game as the Czech team “was not allowed to enter the dressing room” at Ibrox Stadium.
“Slavia resolutely denies the disgusting accusation of one of the team captains Ondrej Kudela of racist behavior,” the team said in a statement Friday.
Kudela, who is white, only acknowledges swearing at Kamara.
“It was said in emotions, but I absolutely deny there was anything racist in those words,” Kudela said as part of the team’s statement.
Kudela’s explanation, Kamara said, is a “complete utter lie which does not stand up to any form of scrutiny.”
The Czech team advanced 3-1 on aggregate to the Europa League quarterfinals and will face Arsenal.
Slavia said it filed a criminal complaint to Scottish police for physical assault on Kudela, though it did not identify any Rangers players.
“The assault was brutal and carried out with the full force with the intention to hurt and cause physical harm to our player,” the team said late Friday.
UEFA on Friday launched an investigation and appointed a disciplinary inspector to gather evidence after earlier saying it was awaiting reports of the match officials.
“Further information regarding this investigation will be made available in due course,” UEFA said in a statement.