Fuelled by anti-immigrant rhetoric, racism still serious issue in Czech stands

Ondrej Kudela (R) was given a 10-match ban for racially abusing Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara (C) earlier this year

Racism will be firmly in the spotlight when Sparta Prague face Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday, two months after UEFA ordered the Czech club to play behind closed doors over racist chants.

During a Champions League qualifier in August, Sparta fans aimed monkey chants at Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni when he scored. 

However, the schoolchildren booed Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara, who was allegedly the victim of racist abuse from Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela a few months earlier.

However, questions about the Czech approach to racism from football supporters persist.

Sparta also sent an open letter to Tchouameni to apologise, but its fans were unimpressed — a month later, they poured racist chants onto Viktoria Plzen’s black players, earning their club a fine from the Czech Football Association.

While Czech football authorities did not comment on the issue, football pundit Ludek Madl from the Seznam Zpravy news website said they took a lukewarm approach to racism.

“But I don’t think they are looking for a systematic solution.”

“People see Africans primarily as black, and a considerable part of our nation does not understand this could be a problem,” Madl said.

Almost 50 percent of Czechs see immigrants as a security threat, according to a 2020 poll by the Czech Academy of Sciences.

“I was very angry and I even felt like leaving the pitch,” Poulolo said in a statement.

– ‘Rotten fruit’ –

Kamara’s lawyer Aamer Anwar called for punishment, claiming that the children booed all the black players, not just Kamara.

Czech fans meanwhile insisted they had targeted Kamara not because of the colour of his skin, but because of a 10-match ban imposed by UEFA on Kudela for racist abuse, which was perceived as too high across the country.

The Czech presidential office even stepped in and sent an official complaint to UEFA over the Kudela ban.

Czech fans seemed to share the sentiment when they booed Wales players taking the knee in support of the movement ahead of a World Cup qualifier in Prague earlier this month.


Originally published as Fuelled by anti-immigrant rhetoric, racism still serious issue in Czech stands

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