Tomas Soucek: UEFA's ten-game ban to Ondrej Kudela is 'absurd'

West Ham star Tomas Soucek describes UEFA’s ten-game ban to Czech Republic team-mate Ondrej Kudela as ‘absurd’ after defender was found guilty of racially abusing Rangers’ Glen Kamara as European Championships draws nearer

  • Czech Republic begin their European Championships bid on Monday in Scotland
  • They will be without defender Ondrej Kudela, who is banned for racial abuse
  • Kudela was found guilty of racially abusing Rangers’ Glen Kamara in March
  • West Ham’s Tomas Soucek has described Kudela’s ten-game ban as ‘absurd’
  • The midfielder claims players will stop taking the knee soon as it has no impact 

The Czech Republic’s biggest star, Tomas Soucek, has turned up the heat ahead of his team’s trip to Hampden on Monday by condemning international team-mate Ondrej Kudela’s ten-match ban as ‘absurd’.

Slavia Prague defender Kudela missed out on the Euros after being found guilty of racially abusing Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara during their last-16 Europa League clash at Ibrox.

Clearly infuriated by his fellow Czech’s lengthy suspension, West Ham playmaker Soucek has now reignited the row just days before his country’s opening group clash with Scotland by claiming Kudela was harshly treated.

Tomas Soucek has described Czech Republic team-mate Ondrej Kudela’s ten-match UEFA ban as ‘absurd’ ahead of Euro 2020

Kudela was found guilty of racially abusing Rangers’ Glen Kamara (left) while playing for Slavia Prague earlier this year

And, in a tirade that will raise eyebrows at the London club, he angrily accused British people of being overly ‘sensitive’ to racism.

He said: ‘At West Ham, everyone asked me about it and why he said it (to Kamara). And I fought for Ondrej all the time. I believe that he did not tell him anything racist, no one proved anything about him.

‘Yet a lot of people in the UK condemned him and he received a heavy sentence of ten matches from UEFA. I found it absurd. I know him so well that I can’t imagine him saying anything racist.

‘I see how sensitive the British are to racism every day. Two cultures collide because we think a little differently than they do. Of course, it’s right they want to fight racism, but sometimes they go to such extremes that, in my opinion, it’s counterproductive.

Kudela was banned for ten UEFA matches which has ruled him out of the whole of Euro 2020

‘It’s hard for me to understand and I tell myself that when they go looking for racism in everything they can never get rid of it completely. On the contrary, they are harming themselves.

‘Our little girl goes to nursery here and when she goes to draw something on a blackboard, she can’t say that the blackboard is black or white — both could be interpreted as racism.

‘Slowly, one is afraid to say anything so as not to offend or slander someone. And I think that’s wrong.’

Speaking in an interview in his homeland publication, idnes, Soucek said he believes players will no longer take the knee as an anti-racism gesture before matches in the Premier League next season.

Soucek believes players will stop taking the knee soon as it ‘doesn’t have much impact’

He said: ‘We’ve been doing it all season, but it will probably be cancelled before the next one as it doesn’t have much of the original impact anymore.

‘There are more fights here, we recently boycotted social networks for five days to show that we are against discrimination and insults on the internet. But it’s like everything — an interesting gesture that will attract attention, but will it help anything? That’s the question.’

Yesterday, at least one of Soucek’s team-mates made an effort to tackle the raging inferno his defence of Kudela will spark.

But Bristol City defender Tomas Kalas would have needed a fire hose to prevent Soucek’s inflammatory words from lighting the blue touch paper ahead of Monday’s showdown.

Soucek’s Czech Republic side begin their Euro 2020 campaign on Monday against Scotland

Trying to reclaim some lost ground when asked about the Kudela case and about whether the Czechs support taking the knee, the former Chelsea player said: ‘It’s a difficult question because everyone has different opinions. Everyone is entitled to have their own opinion.

‘Obviously, I am playing for Czech Republic. Scottish people might look at us in a different way — but none of us support racism. That doesn’t say if we are going to take the knee or not. Or if we are going to say something or not.

‘That doesn’t suddenly make us racists. I just want to be clear about that. The whole of Europe, all the footballers, stand behind the fact that racism has no place in football.’

Soucek claims he will continue to support the anti-racism scene despite Kudela’s (right) ban

Clearly on happier ground talking about the football, Kalas said he was pleased when his country were pitched into a group that sees them play two games in Glasgow and one in London.

Joking about his full decade in Britain enabling him to pass on ‘intel’ to the coaching staff, he is already wary of facing one particular Scot.

With a nod to previous attempts to keep QPR and Scotland striker Lyndon Dykes in check, Kalas said: ‘I remember him. It’s going to be physical, as it was with both games I played against him. I’ll be prepared not only for him, but for everyone else.

‘Nobody is saying he is going to play, but probably he might. We will see how many balls he is going to get in the air or on the floor. I might know some players, so it might be a bit easier. I can give some intel! But it’s not going to be much different, no matter where you play. They are still going to be difficult games.’

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