Watch: Brian Kerr’s impassioned speech about racism in football

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The former Ireland boss let his opinion be heard during a discussion regarding UEFA’s 10-match ban of Ondrej Kudela for racial abuse.

Brian Kerr has long been an advocate for equality in football – and society in general, of course. So, when the topic of Ondrej Kudela’s 10-game ban imposed by UEFA was brought up as a topic of discussion during Virgin Media Sport’s Europa League coverage, he didn’t hold back in voicing his opinion.

For context, Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela racially abused Rangers’ midfielder Glen Kamara during a Europa League Round of 16 tie. Kudela approached Kamara during a break in play, covered his mouth with his hand and whispered something – presumably of a racist nature – into Kamara’s ear. This sparked an immediate reaction from Kamara and fellow Rangers’ player Bongani Zungu which resulted in a scuffle between the two teams.

It was announced on Wednesday that Kudela was found guilty of racial abuse and handed a 10-game ban by UEFA, while Kamara received a 3-game ban for assaulting Kudela after the game.

“It’s disgusting in society, it’s disgusting in football and for far too long UEFA and FIFA as the authorities in world football have been miles too lenient,” said Brian Kerr on UEFA’s decision.

“This has gone on far too long, right around Europe. Groups like SARI for years have been trying to deal with UEFA and to get them to put out strong punishments to associations and clubs. Not just closing down sections of grounds, making them play away games for a long time. Really punishing them. Fining clubs and fining associations substantial amounts of money, so that they’ll put proper policies in place.

“We’ve seen an uprising recently in support for the Black Lives Matter movement and various rights around abuse and racism and the internet and how players have been abused. I’m glad, but it’s taken far too long for it to be recognised and for this uprising to take place in support of what’s only common decency and respect of all human beings.”

Host Tommy Martin and panellist Keith Andrews agreed with Brian Kerr’s sentiment, claiming UEFA’s punishment was far too lenient given the offence.

Slavia Prague were knocked out of the Europa League on the night, losing 4-0 (5-1 aggregate) to English side Arsenal.

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