Czech foreign minister summons British ambassador over escalating football row

Jakub Kulhánek has summoned Nick Archer to discuss online attacks on Czech children following controversial booing at a football match on Thursday.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 02.10.2021 09:38 (updated on 02.10.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek has summoned British ambassador to the Czech Republic Nick Archer to meet on Monday. The pair will discuss insults directed at Czech children in the British media and on the Internet following a Europa League football match between Sparta Praha and the Glasgow Rangers on Thursday, Kulhánek stated on Twitter.

Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček called on Kulhánek to summon Archer and deal with the issue.

Kulhánek stated that deliberately-spread, disgusting insults directed at Czech children in the media and on the internet should have no place in football, and no place in good relations between the two countries.

On Twitter, Hamáček wrote that a statement from Marvin Bartley, consultant for equality and diversity of the Scottish Football Association, was a "disgusting attack" on Czech children.

"In no way is this the fault of the children because they’re behaving in a way they see adults do/encourage," Bartley wrote.

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"What chance do they have when placed in a bowl with rotten fruit." Bartley added a picture of rotten strawberries to his comment.

"The Czechs are not rotten fruit or a nation of racists," Hamáček said in reaction. "I called on Jakub Kulhánek to summon the British ambassador and demand that these attacks immediately stop," he added.

Sparta Praha resolutely protested against the attacks on child fans on social networks and in the media. The club firmly rejected accusations of racism. Sparta asked Rangers representatives to help stop the xenophobic atmosphere against the Czech Republic and its children. Sparta’s main rival, Slavia Praha, supported their efforts.

Due to previous racist behavior from Sparta fans, the only people allowed to watch Thursday's match in Prague were children accompanied with adults.

The children repeatedly booed Black Rangers player Glen Kamara. British media, the Rangers' coach, and Kamara’s lawyer condemned the booing as racist.

In March, at the end of a Europe League round-of-16 match between the Rangers and Slavia Praha in Glasgow, Slavia player Ondřej Kúdela ran towards Kamara after a violent tackle from the home team and whispered something to him.

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Kamara later said Kudela called him a "f***ing monkey." After the match ended, Kamara assaulted Kudela in the stadium tunnel on his way to the locker room.

The Union of European Football Associations concluded that racial abuse by Kúdela had been proven, and banned Kudela from ten UEFA games. He was unable to play in the European championship.

Kamara was banned from three UEFA matches for his assault on Kúdela. Another Rangers player, Kemar Roofe, was banned from four matches because he kicked Slavia goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář in the face in this match.

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