UEFA has launched an investigation after Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara and the club’s other black players were audibly booed by children during the Europa League clash with Sparta Prague in the Czech capital last week.
Sparta’s supporters had actually been given a stadium ban for the racist abuse of Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni back in August, with roughly 10,000 schoolchildren attending Thursday’s match in their place alongside some adult chaperones.
However, the Gers’ black players were booed throughout the match and Kamara – who was the victim of a disgusting incident of racist abuse against Sparta’s city rivals Slavia last season – was given a particularly hostile reception every time he touched the ball.
European football’s governing body has now confirmed it is investigating this latest allegation of racism, probing ‘potential discriminatory incidents’ during the 1-0 defeat for Steven Gerrard’s side.
A statement read: “In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding potential discriminatory incidents allegedly occurring during the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League group-stage match between AC Sparta Praha and Rangers FC played on 30 September 2021.
“Information on this matter will be made available in due course.”
Speaking after the match, Gerrard said (as quoted by Sky Sports): “There are hundreds of thousands and maybe more people frustrated because these things keep raising their head far too often.
“Unfortunately the punishment is not enough. I said last night there needs to be more done. It’s the only way it’s going to get eradicated because the punishments are nowhere near severe enough.”
However, Sparta defended those in attendance in the aftermath of the game.
“[It is] absolutely unbelievable that after a match we have to watch innocent children being attacked and face unfounded accusations of racism,” a statement read.
“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.”