The midfielder was booed during the Europa League defeat on Thursday night, with claims that he was targeted due to his skin colour
Sparta Prague have issued an angry response to claims that supporters targeted Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara with racist abuse in their Europa League clash on Thursday night, pointing out most of the crowd was made up of children and calling the claims “unacceptable, desperate and ridiculous.”
Sparta had been handed a crowd ban for the game at Letna Stadium for racist chanting from their fans towards Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni last season, but UEFA relented by allowing 10,000 children to watch the game, which they won 1-0.
A number of adults were also granted entry to accompany their children, and Kamara was targeted by jeers whenever he touched the ball, before he was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 74th minute to loud cheers.
What was said after the game?
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard criticised UEFA for missing the chance to make an example of Sparta by allowing so many supporters into the stadium – particularly at the ground where Kamara was racially abused last season by Slavia Prague player Ondrej Kudela. City neighbours Slavia and Sparta share the 10,000-seat arena.
“If that’s the truth it’s very disappointing but I’m not surprised. We’re playing behind closed doors, apparently, for a reason,” he told BT Sport. “It’s not the first time there have been issues in this place. The powers that be don’t do enough.
“Tonight the punishment was meant to be a fine and behind closed doors where you don’t play in front of any people. It’s near enough a full house so they’re not getting punished.”
Kamara’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, also released a statement criticising Sparta.
“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,” it read.
“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.”
What have Sparta Prague said?
The criticism of the children prompted a furious response by Sparta, calling the comments “unprecedented xenophobic statements”, and calling on Anwar to face action in Scotland.
A lengthy statement on the club website read: “It is absolutely unbelievable that after a match we have to watch innocent children being attacked and face unfounded accusations of racism. 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.
“We are seeing unprecedented xenophobic statements against the Czech Republic, its citizens and even its children on social media. You are describing the behaviour of children incorrectly, giving yourself the right to judge six-year-old children who have no idea what racism is. It’s an impertinence.
“Sadly, we have to read the desperate attacks of lawyer Aamer Anwar, who goes beyond what a lawyer should be allowed to do. In the Czech environment, his conduct would have been dealt with by the Bar Association by now.
“His activism and online bullying should be dealt with by the relevant institution in Scotland. Inciting xenophobic tendencies and verbal attacks on defenceless children are beyond the pale of morality and decorum.”