Rangers shareholders Club 1872 have called for BBC Scotland to take action over pundit Michael Stewart after he raised doubts over racism allegations involving one of the club’s players.
Stewart claimed that he was “uncomfortable” discussing the racist abuse which was levelled at Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara by Slavia Prague defender Ondřej Kúdela.
Kamara was abused by Kúdela as Slavia ran out deserved 2-0 winners in the Europa League last 16 this week, with the midfielder detailing the nature of the abuse on social media.
Enough is enough. pic.twitter.com/uyJLLhIUul
— Glen Kamara (@GlenKamara4) March 19, 2021
Slavia have refuted the claims and because of this Stewart cast doubts on the allegations by suggesting people should await the outcome of the UEFA investigation.
This is despite Kamara’s testimony, a witness in Bongani Zungu supporting it, and the video clip of Kúdela sneakily covering his hand and whispering something into Kamara’s ear.
In the clip below, as you can see this draws an instant reaction of “racist” from Kamara:
Clearly hear what went on from Kamara and Zungu here. Disgusting behavior from the Slavia player. pic.twitter.com/AgP0NqRobr
— Jersey Ger 🇳🇱 (@NYCRFC) March 19, 2021
Firstly, here’s what Stewart said [BBC Scotland Scottish Football Podcast 19/03/21]:
“Without trying to back away from the issues, I’m slightly uncomfortable with going full steam ahead when we don’t know definitively what’s happened.
“UEFA have to have an investigation, we’re proceeding on the assumption that there was a racial incident.
“I know it’s allegations, but we assume that this has happened last night.
“Earlier the season there was an incident up at Victoria Park, and they were being hung, drawn and quartered before we actually knew what was going on.
“It’s a serious point in that we have to allow the process to carry itself out before we reach the conclusion.
“IF it transpires that something racist was said to Glen Kamara, then 100%, it is outrageous, just equally outrageous as any other discriminatory comments being thrown out there.
Have a listen to Michael Stewart’s take on last nights events at Ibrox.
— 𝗠𝗶𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗲𝗹 (@SeafarerMichael) March 19, 2021
“I’m just slightly uncomfortable and uneasy with proceeding ahead with one side saying it didn’t happen, one side saying it has happened.
“We need to allow UEFA to proceed, and the difficulty is that when it’s like that, how do we form a definitive answer?
“It looks suspicious, and your instinct is to say he’s racially abused Kamara, but I’m slightly uneasy with proceeding ahead before UEFA come to a conclusion.”
These comments follow on from Stewart’s suspension from BBC Scotland last season after he claimed ex-Rangers PR chief Jim Traynor had fabricated stories regarding the racial abuse of Alfredo Morelos.
Stewart’s latest comments have attracted widespread condemnation even outside of Scotland with the ex-Manchester United midfielder upsetting Old Trafford legend Rio Ferdinand.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) March 20, 2021
In a statement Rangers shareholders Club 1872 have firstly thrown their “full support” behind midfielder Glen Kamara in the aftermath of the incident.
The shareholders say they stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the Finnish international and they condemn both Kúdela and Slavia for the incident and their subsequent reaction.
Club 1872 believe Slavia have engaged in “a campaign of disinformation and obfuscation” regarding the incident and also support Kemar Roofe, who has been extensively abused on Instagram.
Alongside calling on social media giants to do more regarding abuse, they warn UEFA that “the footballing world will be watching very closely” what happens next.
However, Stewart is also singled out for special criticism and Club 1872 his latest on-air rant “should be his last” and have challenged BBC Scotland to “take the action they should have taken over a year ago”.
The comments on Stewart are detailed below:
“Mr Stewart did his best to use his platform on BBC Scotland to cast doubt on the racist abuse suffered by Alfredo Morelos at Celtic Park, despite someone being charged over the incident.
“Fast forward one year and he is again refusing to take the personal experience of a black player who has been racially abused at face value.
“We believe Glen Kamara 100%, his account is clear, his and his teammates’ reaction at the time was authentic and it was immediately apparent to anyone with any common sense that something serious had occurred.
“For racism to be dealt with in football, our default position should be to believe the accounts of those who experience it and seek the corroboration and evidence to allow the authorities to take strong action.
“For Michael Stewart to take the opposite approach, twice, is a disgrace.
“We are fully aware of Michael Stewart’s desperate quest for attention and we are loath to give him the attention he craves, but this is too serious a matter to allow to pass without comment.
“BBC Scotland told us last year, following Mr Stewart’s rant at that time, that he had been reminded of his responsibilities.
“Clearly, that ‘reminder’ has fallen on deaf ears. BBC Scotland’s continuing tolerance of him is further evidence of the institutional decline of the Scottish outpost of the BBC.
“This latest outburst should be his last and we will watch with interest to see if BBC Scotland now take the action they should have taken over a year ago.”
Kamara has shown remarkable bravery to come forward into the spotlight and shine a light on the abuse and should be commended for doing so.
Instead, Slavia Prague are waging a campaign against the midfielder, even threatening to press charges for an assault they are alleging on Ondřej Kúdela from Kamara [Slavia].
Rangers fans have thrown their backing right behind the midfielder with a supportive banner being hung out in honour of Glen and teammate Kemar Roofe at the club’s training centre.