Jiří Hošek: UEFA’s ruling on Slavia-Rangers incident will leave bitter aftertaste among Czech fans

The alleged racist remark made by Slavia Prague’s Ondřej Kúdela during a game with Glasgow Rangers has been hotly debated by fans and media pundits both in Czechia and in the UK. We asked journalist Jiří Hošek how he views the resulting UEFA rulling to hand over Ondřej Kúdela a 10 match ban.

Nearly a month after Slavia Prague beat Glasgow Rangers 2:0 in the second game of the Europa League last-16 knockout round, the incidents that took place during that match have not receded from the attention of fans and associated media coverage both in the UK and in the Czech Republic.

The reason is the extremely heated nature of the game, which saw a brutal foul on Slavia Prague’s goalkeeper, an alleged racist remark by one of the Slavia players, Ondřej Kúdela, on Rangers’ Glen Kamara and what seems to have been a subsequent lashing out by Glen Kamara on Kúdela after the match.

On Wednesday, UEFA issued a 10 match ban for Ondřej Kúdela for his alleged remarks, with Glen Kamara receiving a three match ban and his Rangers teammate, Kemar Roofe, receiving a four match ban for his foul on the Slavia Prague goalkeeper. The 10 match ban means that Kúdela will also miss the chance to represent the Czech national side at the upcoming Euro championship.

Jiří Hošek is the former Czech Radio correspondent in the UK and currently focused on sports. He has been covering the incident for several weeks. I asked him what it is that we actually know for certain happened during the game.

“What we can say is that there was a match played at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow. There was a kickoff and there was a last whistle. There were two goals scored by Slavia Prague. There were a number of yellow cards and two red cards shown. Both of them were fully justified. One of them for a brutal foul by Kemar Roofe on the Slavia goalkeeper who suffered a fractured skull.

“The whole atmosphere of the match was toxic. I have seen thousands of football matches in my professional career, but I have never seen a match played on such a high international level where one side was so malicious, and that side was Glasgow Rangers.

“The key event that we are talking about happened shortly before the final whistle. There was an incident on the pitch when Slavia Prague’s Ondřej Kúdela approached Glasgow’s Glen Kamara and whispered something in his ear. This immediately caused a very swift reaction. That is where I would stop because this is what we know happened.”

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