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West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek insists he was ‘misunderstood’ after calling Ondrej Kudela’s racism ban ‘absurd’

West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek insisted he “opposes all forms of racism” after being criticized for calling Ondrej’s ban on racism “absurd” Kudela.

Kudela had hoped to represent the Czech Republic at Euro 2020 this summer, but missed the game after being convicted of abusing the breed of Rangers Glen Kamara in a Europa League clash in March.

Soucek made a firm defense of compatriot Kudela on Friday, but believes the comments were “taken out of context”
West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek insists he was ‘misunderstood’ after calling Ondrej Kudela’s racism ban ‘absurd’
Kudela appealed his suspension but it was upheld and he is now serving a ten-match suspension

The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body rejected their appeal and confirmed their initial ten-match suspension.

Soucek defended the Slavia Prague player on Friday by calling the ban “absurd” and insisting he “knows him so well I can’t imagine him saying anything racist” .

The Hammers midfielder told iDNES: “At West Ham everyone has asked me about it and why he said it. [to Kamara].

“And I fought for Ondrej the whole time. I don’t think he said anything racist to her, no one has proven anything about him.

“Yet a lot of people in the UK condemned him and he received a hefty 10-match penalty from UEFA. I found that absurd. I know him so well that I can’t imagine him saying anything racist … “

However, Soucek explained his comments later on Friday and insisted his comments had been “taken out of context.”

In a statement on Twitter, Soucek wrote: “My comments in a recent interview I did in the Czech Republic did not find what I meant, they were out of context and were misunderstood.

“I am against racism in all its forms and I am proud to play in such a diverse and inclusive sport. “

Earlier on Friday, the Scottish players revealed they would ‘oppose racism’ at Euro 2020 rather than kneeling before matches.

The team rose to their feet for the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign in March after head coach Steve Clarke said the knee gesture had become “maybe a little watered down”.

The move follows several changes of gesture between Scottish Premiership clubs in an attempt to reinforce the anti-racist message.

A statement from the Scottish Football Association read: “The team, coaching staff and backstage members will stand up to racism ahead of Group D matches against the Czech Republic, England and Croatia.”

Captain Andy Robertson added: “It is important that we continue to tackle the problem of racism and raise awareness of the need to change attitudes but also behavior.

“Ahead of our World Cup qualifiers in March, we spoke as a group and felt that taking a stand was the best way for us to show solidarity and also to reinforce the need for meaningful change in society.”


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