SFA equality and diversity advisor Marvin Bartley took to Twitter last week to lament the situation at Sparta Prague’s stadium as they hosted Steven Gerrard’s Rangers
The Czech Republic’s foreign minister has called on the Scottish Football Association (SFA) to issue an apology for comments made by Marvin Bartley.
Livingston assistant manager and captain Bartley took to Twitter last week to lament the situation at Sparta Prague’s stadium as they hosted Steven Gerrard’s Rangers.
During the Europa League fixture, a 10,000-strong crowd comprised almost entirely of schoolchildren booed Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara, who was racially abused by a Slavia Prague player last season.
Bartley – who serves as the SFA’s equality and diversity advisor – posted a picture of decaying strawberries and wrote: “The worst thing about the scenes in Prague last night is that I’m not shocked in the slightest!
“In no way is this the fault of the CHILDREN because they’re behaving in a way they see adults do/encourage. What chance do they have when placed in a bowl with rotten fruit.”
Sparta Prague were handed a stadium ban by UEFA after some of their fans racially abused Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni during a Champions League qualifying fixture in August.
It was subsequently decided schoolchildren should be allowed to attend for the visit of Rangers, but problems still emerged at the Letna Stadium.
Nonetheless, Czech foreign minister Jakub Kulhanek claims his country is owed an apology for alleged “xenophobic insults” made by Bartley.
“I understand that sports matches bring various emotions that can be transferred off the field,” Kulhanek wrote on his official website. “However, even that has its limits and must not grow into xenophobic insults aimed at minors.
“Therefore, I asked for an apology or a clear distance from the person who publicly uttered the comparison of Czech children to rotten fruit.
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“I summoned the ambassador today to interpret my request to the Scottish Football Association.”
One of the biggest cheers of Sparta Prague’s 1-0 victory over Rangers came when Kamara was shown a second yellow card in the 74th minute.
The Finland international was racially abused by Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela earlier this year, resulting in the defender being given a 10-match ban by UEFA.
Kamara also received a three-match suspension after he was found guilty of assaulting Kudela in the tunnel at Ibrox in March.
While the vast majority of the crowd at the Letna Stadium was made up of schoolchildren, some adults were also allowed in to accompany them.
A statement on the official British Embassy Prague Twitter account reads: “The British government condemns racism and xenophobia in all their forms.
“Incidents during football matches should be dealt with by UEFA. At a meeting with @jakubkulhanek the British Ambassador pledged a request for an apology to the Scottish Football Association and expressed its determination to further strengthen the Flag of the United Kingdom (and) Flag of the Czech Republic.”