We’re delighted to welcome former Premier League referee Keith Hackett as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Rangers
Disgusting scenes on Thursday night marred Rangers’ 2-0 loss to Slavia Prague as allegations of racism dominated headlines the next day.
Ondrej Kudela is alleged to have racially abused Gers midfielder Glen Kamara in the late stages of the game though Slavia have denied this in a statement.
There is sure to be a UEFA investigation to sort out what was said and to decide any potential punishments.
Racism is a hot topic in football at the moment though it has been a problem for decades and if anything, it seems that cases are rising.
This is a minefield for a referee as unless they hear what was said first hand, it is incredibly hard to prove that anything racist was said for certain.
Orel Grinfeld, the referee on the night, came in for some criticism for not dealing with the incident and former Premier League ref Keith Hackett has told us what Grinfeld should’ve done instead.
“It’s very difficult for a referee because sometimes they aren’t speaking English,” Hackett exclusively told Ibrox News.
“An experienced referee sometimes doesn’t need to hear the words, he can see by the nature of the action and from the player what’s happened. How does he deal with it when he hasn’t got 100% of the facts about what has taken place?
“What I would do is bring the captains of the two teams together and say ‘look I’ve not heard what’s gone on here but something has happened, I’m telling you both that I’m going to report the matter to UEFA. Whatever has taken place, I do not expect a repeat’.
“I would then approach the player and say ‘I’m sorry if you have been abused but I can’t work on innuendo, I can only act on fact. Having said that, I’m informing you that I will report the matter to UEFA’.
“Post-match, there is a UEFA delegate at the game and I would speak to him immediately and ask him to find out some information before the teams leave the ground.”
We can only hope that a UEFA investigation comes to a definitive conclusion over what happened last Thursday night.
But clearly, the ref on the night didn’t do enough to calm the situation down and it will be interesting to hear his report when it is made public.
Until then, we continue to stand with Kamara and support the anti-racist messages being sent out by Rangers.
In other Rangers news, Slavia Prague release new social media post on racial discrimination.