A letter to the UEFA Disciplinary Board

4/15/2021

On Thursday, April 15, 2021, the Director of the Office of the President Vratislav Mynář sent a letter to the members of the UEFA Disciplinary Board:

Dear Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body,

Allow me to address you in this open letter in connection with your recent decision to punish football player Ondřej Kúdela. He was penalized for an alleged racist statement, which he was supposed to make on March 18, 2021 during the Rangers FC against SK Slavia Praha football match. According to your verdict, he is now banned from participating in the next 10 matches.

A lot has happened in the aforementioned match. SK Slavia Praha played a fair, high quality match, and dominated the game. The opponent's response was a deceitful game full of fouls, one of which ended in a serious injury of Slavia’s goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář. He suffered a skull fracture and will have to wear a helmet on the field for the rest of his life. After the second goal scored by Slavia, the opponent´s behavior started to become rude, unsportsmanlike, and full of frustration. The Czech players were attacked by the other team inside the stadium after the end of the match and were not allowed back into the locker rooms. What was the result of all of this? A punishment of the player who crushed the opponent's skull with a football boot was banned from entering 4 matches, another player received a three-match ban for a physical attack.

What did the alleged racism lead to? The ban from playing in the next 10 matches. I would like to emphasize that racism has not been proven and remains alleged. Even the UEFA inspector himself doubted whether Ondřej Kúdela had made a racist statement. Yet, you have decided on a completely unprecedented punishment for a player who did not harm anyone physically, but only verbally - according to his own statement - offended his opponent. You have condemned a decent person without a single piece of evidence. You make it impossible for athletes to fulfill their dreams to play in the European League. All this is just to satisfy perverted expectations of a small group of activists and a team, which was unable to win on the field, so now it only shouts empty and hurtful phrases about racism.

You have turned the fight against racism into a fight of the unsuccessful against the successful. It has become the pinnacle of hypocrisy, positive discrimination, and embarrassing pandering to silly trends. Your efforts can lead to the opposite, i.e. a situation where a person with a skin color other than black is discriminated, oppressed, and deprived of his/her rights. Therefore, I consider it necessary to oppose your decision.

I understand you are probably not accustomed to such behavior but allow me to tell you this: I very much appreciate the fact that the Czech public, across the whole society, does not identify with your verdict. On the contrary - you managed to unite old rivals – even temporarily. We will not kneel down in front of you. No threats work against a Czech football fan.

The President of the Republic, Mr Miloš Zeman, is informed about the situation in detail and considers it important not only from the sports point of view, but also from the point of view of justice and human dignity. He has expressed his sympathy to all citizens of the Czech Republic who follow this case and are disappointed by it. At the same time, he wishes all players and fans not to be discouraged by this affair and supports them in their efforts to root for their team open-heartedly.

Vratislav Mynář, the Director of the Office of the President