The Czech national football club traveled to Wales for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier match against the Welsh national club.
Noticeably missing from the group was Slavia Praha’s Ondřej Kúdela. Kúdela was believed to be absent due to concerns for his safety.
Kúdela is currently in the center of recent controversy regarding an incident that occurred when the Glasgow Rangers FC faced off with Slavia Praha.
During the match, the play became quite aggressive as Slavia’s goalkeeper was kicked in the face and taken off the field on a stretcher. Two Rangers players received red cards for aggressive play in the second half.
Shortly before the end of the match, Kúdela approached Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara, a Finnish man of African descent, and was seen cupping his hand and whispering something into Kamara’s ear. Kamara alleges that Kúdela said to him, “You’re a f***ing monkey. You know you are.”
After the match, Kúdela claims that Kamara physically assaulted him and punched him in the head before fleeing to the locker rooms. SK Slavia Praha filed a criminal complaint to Scottish police through the Czech Embassy in London.
A statement from Slavia Praha reads:
“Physical assault on Ondřej Kúdela was prepared and deliberate act which included covering of cameras on the site of the incident. The assault was brutal and carried out with the full force with the intention to hurt and cause physical harm to our player.”
Management from the two clubs have met and Kùdela maintains that he simply called Kamara a “f**king guy”.
Kamara spoke out and called on the Europa League to act.
“If UEFA genuinely wants to ‘show racism the red card’, then it’s time to stop the tokenism and take a zero-tolerance approach. The vile racist abuse by Ondřej Kudela took place on the international stage, and any failure to act by UEFA will be viewed as a greenlight for racism.”
The day after the match, Slavia Praha “ultras” fans took to Instagram and posted an image on the hooligans.cz page holding a banner that reads: “Kamara: Just a N*****”.
Slavia management quickly issued a statement disavowing the racist comments. Club chairman Jaroslav Tvrdik called it “absolutely disgusting, embarrassing, racist.”
Unfortunately, this was not the first incident of a few Slavia fans tarnishing the clubs image with racist acts.
At the start of the 2019/2020 season, the Czech Football Association ordered the team to close a portion of their stands as punishment for fans throwing bananas at a black player from city rival team Sparta Praha.
The Slavia Praha organization stands behind Kùdela and denies any racial abuse stating:
“The modern Slavia is a fully multicultural team and even our hardcore fans wear jerseys of all players without exceptions.”
An active investigation into the alleged racist incident by Scottish police is still underway.
Although he did not travel with the rest of the team, it has been confirmed that Kúdela will play in the world cup qualifier and the club will likely hold a press conference before the match to address the issue.