By Pranav Shahaney

12th Jun, 2021 | 7:30am

West Ham ace Tomas Soucek issues statement after being in midst of racism controversy

West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek believes he has been misunderstood for his recent comments to the press about Ondrej Kudela’s ban for racially abusing Rangers’ Glen Kamara during a Europa League clash in March.

Kudela was hoping to represent the Czech Republic at the Euros this summer, but will now be forced to miss the tournament as UEFA’s Controls, Ethics and Disciplinary Body turned down his appeal and upheld their original ten-match ban.

Naturally, it is still a talking point, and Soucek who also plays for the Czech Republic was asked for his thoughts on the entire situation.

The Daily Mail quoted him as saying, “I fought for Ondrej all the time. I believe that he did not tell him anything racist, no one proved anything about him.

“Yet a lot of people in the UK condemned him and he received a heavy sentence of ten matches from UEFA. I found it absurd. I know him so well that I can’t imagine him saying anything racist.

“Of course, it’s right they [people in the UK] want to fight racism, but sometimes they go to such extremes that, in my opinion, it’s counterproductive.”

His comments unsurprisingly led to an outrage on social media as well by some reputed journalists who called him out on it.

He then took to Twitter to issue an explanation for his actions, stating that he had been misunderstood.

Soucek said, “My comments in a recent interview I did in the Czech Republic didn’t come across how I meant them, they were out of context and have been misunderstood.

“I am against racism in any form and am proud to play in a sport that is so diverse and inclusive.”

Still leaves a sour taste

Despite Soucek’s explanation, his initial comments do not come out as something you’d want a footballer to say – especially given the role they have in society as so many people see them as role models.

Soucek thought that he was defending his friend and teammate and fighting his corner for him, but issues like racism go beyond such things.

The best thing for him would have been to not pick a side and state how vehemently he opposed racism in the interview itself, rather than coming out later on Twitter and doing it.

There was enough video evidence to prove that Kudela did whisper things into Kamara’s ear and the reaction that ensued after that suggests that what was said undoubtedly had racial undertones.

It has been suggested that the Hammers may be set to intervene, although this statement may have changed their planned actions this week.

Soucek may not have intended any harm, but he’s made a mistake here and will learn from it.

In other West Ham news, View: Hammers should sign left-footed defender reportedly valued over £20m

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