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Rangers Head Coach Steven Gerrard Advocate For A Harsher Measures For Racist Behaviour

 


The UEFA Europa League match fixture between Sparta Prague and Glasgow Rangers at the Generali Arena in Praha on Thursday night was characterize by Sparta’s youth supporters making bigotry chants on Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara and other Black players on the team every time they touched the ball.

After the game, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told media reporters that UEFA needs to handle racism more extensively and seriously:

He said: “During the game I haven’t been aware, I’ve just been focused on the game and the tactical changes I was trying to think about to try and get us back into the game as we were trailing. If they are facts and that’s the truth, I am extremely disappointed but not surprised.

“What I’m saying is we need the facts…But if that’s the case and they were targeting Glen it’s extremely disappointing because the reason there’s a lot of kids in the stadium is because of previous similar incidents so of course it’s extremely disappointing, if that was the case. There needs to be more done. Not just myself but everyone across the world is asking for more punishment in terms of racism, it needs to be eradicated.

“But until the powers that be do more and treat it more seriously—until that happens—we’re going to be dealing with these questions for a long time.”

Sparta were meant to play without fans on Thursday as punishment for racist chants by their fans during a game against Monaco earlier this season. However, 10,000 students were admitted, continuing Sparta’s disturbing history of racist fan conduct.

Kamara has been the target of racist harassment in the Czech Republic on several occasions. UEFA gave Ondrej Kudela of Slavia Prague a ten-game suspension in April for racially assaulting Rangers’ Kamara after being seen shouting in his ear.

At that time, Aamer Anwar, Kamara’s lawyer said: “UEFA should have imposed a minimum year-long ban rather than a tokenistic 10 match ban. Under the UEFA disciplinary regulations Kudela could have been banned for ‘at least ten matches or a specified period of time,’ and we firmly believe that UEFA should have made use of the significant discretion available to them, to send a far stronger message that this type of abhorrent conduct will not be tolerated on the football field.”

After Thursday’s abuse, Anwar remarked: “I had hoped when I heard of the stadium closure of Sparta Prague that both Glen and other Black players wouldn’t have to put up with any abuse or racism and could just get on with playing football.

“But this evening should be an embarrassment for the Czech side that, despite their fans being banned, it still made little difference that the stadium was filled with 10,000 schoolchildren.

“A huge proportion of those children booed Glen’s every touch of the ball along with every other Black player for Rangers. Tonight shows yet again that Prague has a serious problem with racism and as usual UEFA is nowhere to be seen. Glen and the Rangers players have shown total class, but no player should have to face this at their work and on the European stage.”

Given this second instance of racist abuse by fans in the last two months, it is unclear whether UEFA would consider removing the club from the competition.

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