Sparta Prague praise ‘wonderful atmosphere’ despite Rangers complaint to UEFA

Sparta Prague have issued a statement thanking the 10,000 young fans who attended their Europa League game against Rangers for creating ‘a wonderful and unique atmosphere’ – despite the Scottish club contacting UEFA over boos suffered by Glen Kamara during the match in Prague.

Kamara has been mocked six months after being racially abused by Ondrej Kudela of Sparta’s rivals Slavia Prague.

Sparta’s Letna stadium was originally due to be closed following a separate racist incident, but UEFA agreed that around 10,000 supporters – mostly schoolchildren accompanied by adults – would be allowed in.

Kamara was the butt of boos every time he touched the ball, before being sent off for a second bookable offense in the 74th minute to loud cheers. Gerrard later said that Rangers planned to “restart with UEFA”.

But Sparta defended their supporters with an extraordinary statement on Friday afternoon, calling the club’s criticism “unprecedented xenophobic statements”.

He said: “It is absolutely incredible that after a game we have to see innocent children being attacked and facing 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.

After the game, Gerrard said: “I’m fully aware now that I watched the game with the audio on and I’m actually surprised that I wasn’t aware of it during the game.

“Yes, I spoke to Glen Kamara and this conversation will remain private. Glen is fine.

“We watched football together last night while we had food and I’m sure he’s disappointed as am I and now I think it’s time for the authorities and the club to step in and take that away from us so that we can concentrate on the game on Sunday.

“There are hundreds of thousands and maybe more disappointed and frustrated people because these things keep raising their heads far too often and unfortunately the punishments are not enough.

“I said last night that more needed to be done and that was the only way to eradicate it because the punishments are nowhere near severe enough.”

(Photo: Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Berta D. Wells