Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela will not play at Arsenal as Uefa opens case


Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela for alleged racial abuse and announced he is suspended for the Europa League quarter-final first leg at Arsenal on Thursday, hours after the Czech club said he would miss the game anyway because of injury and illness.

Kudela was involved in an incident with Rangers’ Glen Kamara, who said his opponent had racially abused him during the Czech side’s win at Ibrox on 18 March. Uefa has provisionally suspended Kudela for one club competition match on account of violating the disciplinary rule that takes in “insulting players or others present at the match”. That ban is separate from the accusation of racism, which Kudela has denied.

The 34-year-old is now being investigated for an alleged breach of article 14 (1) of Uefa’s regulations, which targets anyone who “insults the human dignity” of a person on grounds that include race. If he is found guilty a suspension of at least 10 matches would ensue.

Kamara is also under investigation, for his role in a post-match fracas which allegedly occurred in the tunnel area. Uefa is investigating whether he carried out a “serious assault”, which would bring a suspension of five matches or a specified period.

The move to suspend Kudela from the Emirates Stadium tie carries little practical weight given Slavia had confirmed on Tuesday morning that, having also missed the goalless draw at Zbrojovka Brno on Sunday, he would be absent. “He has a cold, virosis and fever, and after a blow to the nose he also has inflammation,” the Slavia assistant coach Zdenek Houstecky told the club’s website.

The nasal injury occurred last week in the World Cup qualifier between Wales and the Czech Republic in Cardiff, when Gareth Bale caught Kudela with an elbow late on. The Slavia player had made the trip despite initial reluctance from the club to release him.

Police Scotland are also investigating the incident at Ibrox, while Slavia said they had submitted a criminal complaint of their own relating to events after the game. Kamara’s lawyer had said he expected officers to question Kudela when he returned to the UK to face Arsenal, although he is not believed to have spoken to police during his stay in Wales.