Sorokin: “In cases like this, there is usually both sides of criticism. There is usually criticism that it’s too long, and there’s criticism that it’s not long enough. You have to look at this story from both sides. I think it’s a waste of time to criticise the decision”
By Bryan Swanson, Chief Reporter
FIFA executive Alexey Sorokin has said the 10-match ban for Ondrej Kudela of Slavia Prague was “correct” and it is a “waste of time” to criticise the length of the suspension.
Sorokin, who was not involved in UEFA’s disciplinary proceedings, has called the incident “a bit strange” after Rangers’ Glen Kamara was banned for three matches for assaulting a player.
Piara Power, executive director of anti-discrimination network FARE, has praised UEFA for making a “landmark decision” but there has been criticism over the length of the ban.
In a wide-ranging interview with Sky Sports News, ahead of Monday’s UEFA decision on host cities for Euro 2020, Sorokin said: “One team is accusing the other of improper behaviour and the other team refuses that. They, in turn, accuse the other side of beating up their player. The whole incident is a bit strange. The decision has been made and, usually, we don’t comment on that decision.
“It’s hard for me to add anything. I did not see the incident myself but, what I’ve read about it, is that there is a lot of questions about it. The incident is multifaceted, let’s put it this way. We never comment on gravity of UEFA bodies’ decisions.
“He [Kudela] never acknowledged it [racist behaviour] from what we hear.”
Sorokin is a UEFA member of the FIFA Council and was not involved in disciplinary proceedings against Kudela and Kamara.
He says he has “trust” in the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body that made its decision.
“In cases like this, there is usually both sides of criticism,” he said. “There is usually criticism that it’s too long, and there’s criticism that it’s not long enough. You have to look at this story from both sides. I think it’s a waste of time to criticise the decision. There is a body that is empowered to make certain decisions, and we have to trust it.
“The message [to Kamara] is sent by UEFA’s disciplinary body. If every one of us starts to make a message, we’re going to turn into messengers, not officials. The message is clear enough.
“I [have] commented a lot on situations like this. This situation does not involve a Russian player, for a change, which makes it easier for me [to comment]. The whole situation, for me, is a bit complicated and it’s not unequivocal. But, under these circumstances, I find the decision correct.
“As a UEFA official, I have trust in these bodies.”
Sorokin was speaking after St Petersburg made a minimum assurance of 50 per cent capacity for Euro 2020 games this summer.
“We are pondering, with authorities, whether to increase this number,” he said. “The situation, in general, in Russia is okay. It’s not deteriorating, and we see some improvements in our figures. We are hopeful. As organisers, we hate to see people return tickets and get their money back. The less the number of these people, the better.
“We understand that public health is paramount.”
Sky Sports News will broadcast more from Sorokin’s interview before the UEFA decision on Monday.
Police Scotland report Kudela and Kamara to prosecution service
Police have reported Ondrej Kudela to Scotland’s prosecution service after investigating claims of racist abuse against Glen Kamara.
A case of “racially aggravated conduct” against the Slavia Prague defender has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal after the 33-year-old Czech was accused of shouting a discriminatory slur into Kamara’s ear during last month’s Europa League clash at Ibrox.
If convicted, Kudela – who has already been handed a 10-game ban by European football’s governing body UEFA but denies the allegation of racist abuse – faces up to six months in prison.
Kamara has also been reported to prosecutors over an allegation that he punched the Slavia centre-back in the Ibrox tunnel after the match.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “A report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal following enquiries into alleged racial abuse and a reported assault at the match between Rangers and Slavia Prague at Ibrox on Thursday, March 18 2021.”
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