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Czech president’s office criticizes ban for Slavia player

April 15, 2021 GMT
Slavia Prague's Ondrej Kudela, left, receives a yellow card during the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen soccer match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, Thursday March 18, 2021. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)
Slavia Prague's Ondrej Kudela, left, receives a yellow card during the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen soccer match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, Thursday March 18, 2021. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)

PRAGUE (AP) — The office of Czech President Milos Zeman on Thursday condemned the 10-match ban given to Slavia Prague defender Ondřej Kúdela for racially abusing a Black opponent in a Europa League soccer match.

In an open letter sent to the UEFA disciplinary committee, office chancellor Vratislav Mynar said Kudela wasn’t proven to be guilty.

“Despite that you decided to punish a player who didn’t harm anyone and only verbally — in his words — offended his opponent,” Mynar said. “You sentence a decent person without a single piece of evidence.”

Kúdela was found to have racially abused Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara on March 18. He acknowledged swearing at Kamara but denied using racist language, which another Rangers player also claimed to have heard.

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Ten games is the minimum ban for racial abuse in UEFA’s disciplinary code.

Mynar accused UEFA of issuing the verdict “to satisfy the perverted expectations of a few activists and a club unable to win on the field.”

Mynar claimed the verdict united Czech fans.

“We will not kneel before you and no threat can get to a Czech soccer fan,” he said.

He said Zeman has been informed of the development and expressed his sympathy with all those who are disappointed by the verdict.

Slavia published apologies by the club and its player to Kamara and offered to work “with major anti-racism British organizations.”

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