UEFA open racism probes into Union Berlin and Sparta Prague incidents

October 6 – European governing body UEFA has opened investigations into racist behaviour from both Union Berlin and Sparta Prague fans in recent European club competitions.

Last Thursday, Union Berlin supporters reportedly hurled antisemitic gestures and slurs towards Maccabi Haifa fans and attempted to set fire to the Israeli flag. Berlin police is also investigating a Union fan who shouted ‘Sieg heil’.

The match was staged at Berlin’s Nazi-era built Olympic Stadium, but the German club later apologised with their president Dirk Zingler branding their supporters’ behaviour as ‘shameful and intolerable’.

UEFA said an “Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding potential discriminatory incidents”.

The European confederation has also launched a probe into Sparta Prague fans abusing Glasgow Rangers’ Glen Kamara. His every touch was booed in a stadium largely occupied by schoolchildren, months after the Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela was banned for 10 matches by UEFA for racially abusing the Finland international, but the Czech club responded to the accusations by defending the children as “innocent”.

In a statement, the club said: “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, arrogating to yourself the right to judge the expression of emotions of six-year-old children who have no idea what racism is. It’s an impertinence.”

The Czechs went on to thank the children for a “wonderful and unique atmosphere”.

Kamara’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said that the children booed all of Rangers’ black players.

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