Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek has asked the British Ambassador to the Czech Republic Nick Archer to pass on a request for the Scottish Football Association to apologize or distance itself from its Equality and Diversity Advisor Marvin Bartley, who described the Czechs as “rotten fruit.”
Kulhánek summoned Archer to discuss the insults of Czech children in the British media and on the internet in connection with Thursday’s Sparta Prague football match with the Glasgow Rangers, according to a report from Czech news outlet Echo24. The sporting event has spawned now spawned a diplomatic conflict after some UK media outlets described Czech children as “racist,” a claim that was met with fierce resistance from Czech politicians as well as top football clubs in the country.
The event at the Sparta Stadium was open only to the child spectators with parental accompaniment. However, children in the audience repeatedly booed controversial Black player Glen Kamara, who was suspended for assaulting a Czech player earlier this year over alleged racist remarks. The British media, coach of the Rangers, and Kamara’s lawyer condemned the behavior. Bartley took it a little further, stating that he was not surprised by the incident because children behave according to the example set by adults. He added a metaphor that compared the children being put in a bowl of rotten fruit, implying that Czech children were also “rotten.”
“Today, I informed the ambassador about the great outrage that this scandalous comparison by an official of the Scottish Football Association had caused across the whole of Czech society,” Kulhánek said.
According to him, sports matches stir various emotions, but they must not grow into “xenophobic insults aimed at minors.”