Glen Kamara: Row escalates as Czech foreign minister summons British ambassador over Rangers game accusations
Rangers approached UEFA over the booing of Kamara while Scotland’s players’ union declared the “sickening abuse” strengthened calls for Europe’s governing body to do more.
However, Sparta Prague called for “xenophobic attacks” on the children to stop and the British ambassador to the Czech Republic has been summoned to a meeting by the country’s foreign minister.
Kamara’s every touch was booed during Rangers’ 1-0 Europa League defeat by Sparta on Thursday, which came months after the Finland international was the victim of on-field abuse which saw Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela given a 10-match UEFA ban for racism.
Kamara, who received a three-match suspension after he was found guilty by UEFA of assaulting Kudela in the Ibrox tunnel in March, was sent off to huge cheers on Thursday after receiving two yellow cards.
The 10,000 crowd consisted mainly of children, plus some adult supervisors, after UEFA partially reneged on a full closure of the Letna Stadium after punishing Sparta for their fans’ racist abuse towards Monaco’s Aurelius Tchouameni.
After watching the game back, Gerrard declared the abuse towards Kamara was clear and repeated his calls for tougher sanctions against racism.
He added: “I have been told that Rangers are going to take it up with UEFA, I think that has already happened and the wheels are already in motion, and I certainly will be pushing from my direction to make sure that’s the case.”
In a statement, PFA Scotland condemned the abuse.
“As we all know, this is not the first time Glen has suffered sickening abuse on the pitch, but the fact that this time it came from the mouths of children through sustained booing is beyond alarming and only strengthens the call for greater sanctions from UEFA for this type of behaviour,” the union said.
“We are not blind to the problems within our own country, including racism, discrimination and sectarianism. In recent weeks, we have seen players across all levels of or game subjected to racist abuse from our stands – it HAS to stop.”
However, Sparta hit back and told their critics to “stop attacking our children!”
In a lengthy statement, the club praised the children for creating a “wonderful and unique atmosphere”.
They added: “It is absolutely unbelievable that after a match we have to watch innocent children being attacked and face unfounded accusations of racism.
“Insulting children on the internet and in the media is unacceptable, desperate and ridiculous.
“We ask the representatives of Rangers FC to do their part to stop the xenophobic atmosphere directed towards our children, our beautiful country and its inhabitants.”
Czech foreign minister Jakub Kulhanek soon backed Sparta, declaring on Twitter: “Enough! Intentionally spread disgusting insults of Czech children in the media and on the internet do not belong in football and not in good relations between the two countries at all.
“I will summon the British ambassador on Monday and resolve the matter with him.”
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