Slavia Prague defender Kúdela appeals against 10-match ban

PRAGUE (AP) — Slavia Prague defender Ondřej Kúdela is appealing against his 10-match ban for racially abusing a Black opponent in a Europa League soccer match.

The law firm that represents Kúdela announced the move on Friday, a day after receiving a detailed verdict from UEFA.

Kúdela and his club can first challenge the ban at UEFA’s appeals committee, and after to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The ban from all UEFA competitions prevents the 34-year-old Kúdela, who has recently been a starter for the Czech Republic, from playing at the European Championship. The Czech soccer federation could join the appeal process as a party affected.

The Czechs begin their Euro 2020 campaign on June 14 against Scotland in Glasgow. It was in the same city that Kúdela was found to have racially abused Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara on March 18.

Kúdela acknowledged swearing at Kamara but denied using racist language, which another Rangers player also claimed to have heard.

Ten games is the minimum ban for racial abuse in UEFA’s disciplinary code. Kúdela served two games of the ban by missing Slavia’s Europa League quarterfinal games against Arsenal. The English team advanced 5-1 on aggregate.

Slavia published apologies by the club and its player to Kamara and offered to work “with major anti-racism British organizations.”

Kúdela can appear at any appeal and testify in his own defense. The initial UEFA disciplinary process was based on documents submitted.

The eight games currently remaining of the ban is set to extend beyond Euro 2020 and could go into the qualifying rounds of the next Champions League. Slavia is the runaway leader of the Czech League and would enter in July in the second qualifying round.

Kamara was banned by UEFA for three club matches for assaulting Kúdela after the game. Rangers said this month it would appeal.

That ban is set to take effect when Scottish champion Rangers enters the third qualifying round of the Champions League in August. Kamara is cleared to play for Finland at Euro 2020.

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