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Gerrard calls on UEFA to do more to combat racism

Glen Kamara was booed repeatedly during Rangers' defeat to Sparta in Prague.

Gerrard calls on UEFA to do more to combat racism SNS Group

Steven Gerrard believes UEFA have to do more to tackle racism and stronger punishment is required to eradicate the problem.

Gerrard was speaking after Rangers lost 1-0 to Sparta in Prague in their Europa League group game.

Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara was booed repeatedly during the game, on his first visit to Prague since Ondrej Kudela was banned for ten games for racially abusing him when Rangers played Sparta’s city rivals Slavia last season.

Sparta were backed by a crowd of 10,000 fans, the vast majority of whom were schoolchildren. The Letna stadium was originally meant to be empty as UEFA punished the club after Monaco’s Aurelius Tchouameni was racially abused by Sparta supporters last season.

The governing body relaxed that ban to allow most children to attend with some accompanying adults. Children were spotted in the stand with a sign that read “Kudela Team” and Kamara was booed whenever he received the ball.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - SEPTEMBER 30: Sparta Prague fans sport a 'Kudela team' banner during a UEFA Europa League group stage match between Sparta Prague and Rangers at the Generali Arena, on September 30, in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Gerrard said that he hadn’t noticed the treatment his player had received, as he focused on the game, but was clear that he thought something had to be done about racism in the game.

“During the game I wasn’t aware as I was obviously focused on the game and the tactical changes to try and get us back in the game,” the Rangers manager said.

“If those are facts and that’s the truth then I’m extremely disappointed but not surprised. The reason there was a lot of kids in the stadium was because of a previous similar incident.

“So of course, it’s extremely disappointing if that was the case.

“There needs to be more done and not just by myself, but everyone across the world is asking for more extreme punishments 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”.

Kamara’s laywer, Aamer Anwar, said in a statement: “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.”