Football: Rangers report Kamara abuse to Uefa but Sparta blast 'xenophobic atmosphere'

The jeering reached its peak in the second half when Glen Kamara was sent off. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

GLASGOW (AFP, REUTERS) - Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said the Scottish football champions have contacted Uefa after midfielder Glen Kamara was targeted by Sparta Prague fans, just months after being racially abused by Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela.

The Finnish international of African descent was sent off for two bookable offences in Rangers' 1-0 Europa League group-stage defeat in the Czech capital on Thursday (Sept 30).

But Sparta have hit out at the "xenophobic" reports.

"It is absolutely unbelievable that after a match we have to watch innocent children being attacked and face unfounded accusations of racism," the Czech club said in a statement.

"Insulting children on the Internet and in the media is unacceptable, desperate and ridiculous.

"Stop attacking our children! Our club will proudly defend our children - our future and our pride. Slandering children on the Internet is extremely cowardly."

The match was initially meant to be played behind closed doors following a separate racist incident when Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni was subjected to abuse from the stands during a Champions League qualifier in August.

However, Uefa relented to allow around 10,000 fans, mainly made up of schoolchildren with some accompanying adults, to attend.

The jeering reached its peak in the second half when Kamara was sent off, media reports said.

Czech international Kudela was banned for 10 matches after European football's governing body found him guilty of racially abusing Kamara during a Europa League clash last season.

In the immediate aftermath of the match, Gerrard said he was unaware of Kamara being booed every time he touched the ball.

But on Friday, the former Liverpool captain added he was now aware of it having reviewed television footage.

"I am fully aware now having watched the game back with audio on and I am actually surprised that I wasn't aware of it during the game," he said.

"Yes, I have spoken to Glen Kamara and that conversation will remain private. Glen is OK."

Gerrard called on Uefa and other governing bodies to take far tougher action against racist abuse.

"There are hundreds of thousands and maybe more people disappointed and frustrated because these things keep raising their head far too often and unfortunately the punishments are not enough.

"I said last night there needs to be more done and that is the only way it is going to be eradicated because the punishments are nowhere near severe enough.

"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."

Kamara's lawyer Aamer Anwar issued a statement saying: "Prague has a serious problem with racism and as usual Uefa is nowhere to be seen."

Reacting to the move, Sparta labelled Anwar's statements as "desperate".

"His activism and online bullying should be dealt with by the relevant institution in Scotland," the Prague club said on its website.

"Inciting xenophobic tendencies and verbal attacks on defenceless children (is) beyond the pale of morality and decorum."

Sparta also asked Rangers to help "stop the xenophobic atmosphere directed towards our children, our beautiful country and its inhabitants".

Slavia backed its arch-rival three days before the two clubs clash in the Prague derby in the Czech league on Sunday.

"We support the statement of AC Sparta Prague and fully agree with its content," tweeted Slavia boss Jaroslav Tvrdik.

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