Claims Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela was “beaten in the tunnel” following his side’s Europa League win at Rangers are being investigated by the UEFA and the Czech ambassador to the UK.
Kudela was said to have been “attacked by fists and left bloodied in the tunnel” following an allegation of racial abuse made towards him by Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara.
Czech outlet Seznam Zprávy reports that Kudela was “attacked by fists and beaten in the tunnel” after the second-leg encounter, as angry scenes erupted following the full-time whistle.
The report claims the police were called and under their escort, the players left for the hotel. It also states the incident was reported to the Czech embassy, with the Czech ambassador to the UK, Libor Secka, looking into the details.
Now both sides are demanding UEFA conduct a detailed investigation into the ugly scenes which overshadowed an historic 3-1 aggregate win for the Czech side.
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard urged UEFA to take swift and decisive against the Slavia player, who was seen remonstrating with home captain Connor Goldson. Kamara was then dragged down the tunnel, as he waited for his alleged abuser.
The angry scenes spilled over in the tunnel area, with UEFA immediately launching an investigation.
Goals from Peter Olayinka and Nicolae Stanciu ended Rangers‘ last-eight hopes but it events after the match that dominated Gerrard’s thoughts.
“I have to be very careful what I say,” said Gerrard. “But you build relationships in football. I have a very, very strong relationship with Glen Kamara.
“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.
“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.”
It is believed no racist abuse was picked up by the match officials or the VAR monitors, with Kudela covering his mouth to lean in to Kamara’s ear. An incensed Gerrard said he was in no doubt as to the authenticity of the claims. However, he was less certain if there would be any censure for the Slavia Prague player or team: “I feel angry. It’s extremely disappointing. There is too much of it happening around football.
“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. I tried to call Glen over during the game, he didn’t come over.”
Gerrard said he would have supported his players had they decided to walk off the pitch but said it was ultimately their decision to complete the game. “I was going to ask him did he want to leave the pitch and I would have backed him whatever his decision was but the players stayed on the pitch, that was their decision and the game came to a conclusion.
“This will be taken out of my hands now and dealt with by UEFA. I just hope with all my heart that people deal with it because that situation was not normal. If I wanted to say something to you on a football pitch, why do I need to cover my mouth and go to the ear?
‘The game’s done in terms of the result at the time – we have nine men they are 2-0 up. There is absolutely no need for it.
“The disappointing thing for me is there is people trying to defend the opposition player. Their people are trying to defend it, trying to defend him, calling us liars. That’s for other people to deal with – all I say now is that I stand by Glen Kamara 100 per cent.”
In a tweet, Slavia president Jaroslav Tvrdik denied the allegation of racist abuse and claimed the Czech champions called in Police Scotland after Kudela was “physically attacked”.
“Slavia categorically denies the fact that the player Ondrej Kudela racially (sic) insulted the players’ opponents in any way,” wrote Tvrdik.
“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.”