As soon as Arsenal’s footballers set up today to start the duel of the quarterfinals of the European League with Slavia, they will probably not forget to kneel in a gesture in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The fight against racism is a big topic in London, and Brazilian winger Willian spoke about his experience before the match with the red and whites.
Arsenal has stepped up pressure to highlight the problem of racism. Last week, a London club came up with an initiative called #StopOnlineAbuse, and on the eve of the match with Slavia, the attacker Willian spoke about the attack on social networks.
The 32-year-old Brazilian described the attacks he had to face, and called on Liverpool to join in the fight against racism after his players Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita were insulted after Tuesday’s 1: 3 defeat with Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.
For Arsenal, the match with Slavia is all the more sensitive because Glen Kamara, who was allegedly racistly attacked in a cup match in Glasgow by Ondřej Kúdela, is Gunners’ offspring.
The Slavic hitchhiker did not travel to London due to the fact that, despite the UEFA inspector’s statement that there was not the slightest evidence of his racist attack, he received a “preventive” ban on taking off. But the issue of racism resonates in London anyway.
In addition, Arsenal has already experienced an incident of racist insults by a Czech player. At the world-famous tournament of youth teams of the 16-year-old All Stars Cup in Prague in 2017.
An important match for promotion from the group was played between Zbrojovka Brno and Arsenal, a point was enough for the London team. The skilful forward of the Moravian ensemble Antonín Svoboda (now the Austrian Red Bull Salzburg) bothered the opponent a lot. Defender Samuel Okoye often did not know how to deal with him, sharp clashes multiplied.
However, everything became insignificant when a Nigerian native also accused a Czech opponent of racist insult after a 1: 2 defeat, which was let on Brno. The word “black man” is said to have fallen in unacceptable form.
The Brno attacker defended himself by saying that Okoye kept kicking him all the time, pulling on his jersey, holding his hands and pinching him. The case had to be handled by the tournament directorate. And Arsenal threatened that if the offender was not severely punished, he might leave the prestigious youth company.
“We thought that it would be enough for the boys to tell each other honestly – what we are, we are,” recalls Jiří Valín, a member of the tournament management. “One held and dug, the other had an inappropriate note. They shake hands and you’re done,” he suggested the solution. “But Arsenal did not want to accept it in any way, he demanded a severe punishment,” he explains the atmosphere in which it was.
“Even his deputy informed us that if we did not do so, he would destroy the Czech player’s career,” adds director Jaroslav Novák. “They will post his name on their Twitter, everyone will insult him,” he emphasizes. “It was not possible to calm him down, the remarks that the Czech boys have no experience with such racism and that the Czech nation has no historical relations did not help in any way, he led his own,” Novák adds.
In the end, Svoboda received a penalty of one match. Brno did not succeed in the quarterfinals without him. And for the prize, he sent a dark-skinned player to prove that any such prejudices are foreign to the club, that it was a sharper reaction in the heat of battle.
How will Slavia fare against Arsenal?
“Slavia managed to succeed twice in a row in the British Isles, but this time it faces an extremely unpleasant test, because the Prague team has broken up the defense. The list of the European League, so Winter remains the only healthy stopper, to which must be added the uncertain start of the number one goalkeeper Kolář, even if the Czech national team starts, it is not certain how long it will last on the pitch. at home Arsenal, “says Fortuny expert Roman Kovařík.
“Bettors are also losing some skepticism this time, almost 90% of all deposits go to the English team, only 6% to Slavia, the rest goes to a draw. defensive counts losses and Luiz and Tierney will probably not interfere in the game, so both teams could score in the match at the rate of 1.81, “adds Fortuny expert Roman Kovařík.