Europe’s football governing body UEFA handed punishment to players involved in an on-field fracas during the Europa League game between Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers and Slavia Prague last month.
On March 18 in Glasgow, Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela had a confrontation which degenerated into a row on the pitch. The Rangers player involved, Glen Kamara was obviously and clearly reacting to something that was said to him and he was not happy. A few of his teammates rallied round and the Prague players also came round. It was an ugly sight.
Later on, it emerged that Kamara, a black Finnish player, claimed to have been racially abused verbally by the 34-year-old Czech player Kudela and it did not go down well with him.
A lot has been said about this, culminating in UEFA charging and yesterday handing a 10-match ban to Kudela for racist behaviour, and a 3-match ban to Glen Kamara for his reaction to the racist slur cast on him.
Racial awareness activist ‘Tunde Adelakun has leant his weight on the matter, saying that UEFA’s actions in this matter was ‘an absolute joke which highlights what we have always been saying about why we still have racism operating actively in our sport’.
Adelakun, a British-Nigerian who plies his trade as Chief Scout to Nigeria’s national football team has always advocated for the football authorities to do more than they are doing to eradicate racism from football.
‘Only a few days ago, I called on the authorities to wade in seriously and decisively on this matter. We know racism in football is an extension of racism in the wider society. But football can play its part in educating every facet of the tribe on the effects of racism’.
There has been wide acclaim against the ban handed to Kudela and the impact of the ban, and Tunde Adelakun believes it was not enough and will be ‘no deterrent in any way, against such abuse being repeated in future.
‘UEFA had a big opportunity to put its foot down on this matter, with the Kudela case, and unfortunately did not take it. A 10-game ban for calling a fellow human being a ‘f***ing monkey’! That has got to be the biggest joke in the land’ the author and journalist turned coach exclaimed.
‘A 10-game ban will not stop the next player from saying worse things to a fellow player in future. If you slap him with a 1-2 year ban and punish his club for not giving enough education to their players – a big fine, a points deduction or something really heavy, then everyone, and I mean everybody in the football tribe will watch over their respective shoulders and caution each other on what is right and what is wrong’.
UEFA went on to ban Kamara for 3 matches, for reacting to the racial slur. When Adelakun was asked on this, his reaction was ‘Let me just laugh, I can’t comment otherwise I will say what I should not say’.
Adelakun has been calling on the football bodies to act, not only in punishing culprits but also providing a support system for players that were racially abused, and he took this chance to say it again.
‘I have said that players who are called names should be supported. By banning Kamara, you are punishing him for reacting to being called a ‘f****ing monkey’, but you are not supporting him and how he has been feeling since he was called that derogatory name. And that is wrong. Kamara is Finnish but we know he has Sierra Leonian roots.
‘In this case, I would love to know what the Finnish Football Federation have done to support his mental health having been called what he was called. And I ask the question, if he was an African player, should we not see an organisation like CAF coming to his aid, supporting him and fighting the punishment being meted out to him?’ Adelakun, the voice of mental mindset awareness known as TundeTalks concluded.