Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has heaped praise on Arsenal during his pre-match press conference on Friday – as quoted in a video published on Twitter by Sky Sports – not long after Ondrej Kudela was handed a ban for racially abusing Glen Kamara.
Back in March, Slavia veteran Kudela approached Kamara and with his hands covering his face – said something that sparked Finland international Kamara to react angrily, with pain in his face. Kamara has always claimed it was a racist comment.
Kudela, and Slavia, have denied that. But UEFA have now handed a 10-match ban to Kudela, with the defender found guilty of racially abusing Kamara – while the Rangers midfielder was given a three-match ban for assaulting Kudela in the tunnel.
Just hours after the bans were dished out, Arsenal faced Slavia in the Czech Republic and won 4-0 – Alexandre Lacazette scoring a brace. Before kick-off, the Frenchman took the knee in front of the Slavia team and Gerrard praised Arsenal, and their display.
“I loved everything about the game,” Gerrard said, as per Sky Sports. “I loved Arsenal’s performance, I loved the way they went about it. I admired the way they approached the game, before – and then during and after the game. I’m sure Glen did as well.
“I was really proud watching Arsenal’s performance. The way they prepared, the way the manager spoke, the way the players behaved before, during and after, and to back it up. I sat there and enjoyed it, I thought it was a sensational performance.”
TBR’s view – Is 10 games really enough?
No. Plenty of pundits have come out after the match to express their frustration at Kudela’s ban and UEFA letting the defender off lightly. For example, Kieran Trippier was banned for 10 weeks for betting – much more than just 10 games.
Regardless of Kamara being banned for just the three games, surely Kudela needed to be banned for longer. UEFA had the chance to really make an example that racism does not belong in football, and anywhere in society. But they have bottled it.