Anger grows as Czech football hit by yet another racism row

The latest allegations follow a string of incidents which have highlighted Czech football’s persistent problems with racism. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 03.11.2021 14:25:00 (updated on 03.11.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Events over the past year have placed the spotlight firmly on racism in Czech football. The capital city's two famous clubs, Sparta Prague and Slavia Prague, have come in for particular criticism, both at home and abroad.

Now, a fresh race row has erupted after Slavia Prague’s assistant manager Pavel Řehák allegedly used a “monkey” slur in a game against Viktoria Plzeň. The fiery encounter was won by Slavia 2-0 as Plzeň had three players sent off.

After the game, one of Plzeň’s dismissed players, Colombian Jhon Mosquera, posted a photo of Slavia coach Řehák on social media with a caption stating “this stupid person called me a monkey.”

“I hope I don’t meet him on the street alone, because if I did I would break his face,” continued the post, which was deleted from Instagram not long afterwards. Viktoria Plzeň nonetheless supported the player’s statement and called on Slavia to investigate the incident. Plzeň said Mosquera was subjected to abuse “not only from the crowd, but unfortunately also from the Slavia coaching staff. One of them even insulted him racially.”

Řehák rejected all the allegations made against him on Tuesday through a statement posted on Slavia Prague’s website. “I condemn racism. And if Mosquera or anyone else continues to claim that I made such a statement, I will defend myself in court,” the assistant manager said.

The row is yet another unedifying episode in the Czech Republic’s struggles with racism in football. Slavia Prague made international headlines earlier this year during a Europa League match against Scottish side Rangers when Czech player Ondřej Kúdela was accused of calling Rangers player Glen Kamara a “f***ing monkey”. UEFA subsequently found Kúdela guilty of racial abuse and banned him for ten matches.

More recently, Slavia’s local rivals Sparta Prague were accused of racism, again during a match against Rangers, when a crowd of 10,000 schoolchildren booed Kamara every time he touched the ball. The row over the incident evolved into a matter of diplomatic concern when an advisor to the Scottish Football Association described Czech fans as “rotten fruit.” The incident led Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek to summon British Ambassador to the Czech Republic Nick Archer for crisis talks.

Tension seems to be building unstoppably over Czech problems with racism in football, and it is now feared feelings could spill over during another forthcoming match between Sparta and Rangers in Glasgow on November 25. Ahead of this crunch tie, the latest allegations of football-related racism in Prague have once again underlined the ongoing problems afflicting Czech football.

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