YESTERDAY was another depressing day for football and the sport’s fight against racism.  

Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela was handed a ten-game ban after racially abusing Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara during a Europa League last 16 match in early March.  

Almost a month has passed since the fixture and Uefa finally made the decision that Kudela’s disgusting remark was worthy of a few matches seated on the naughty step in the stands.  

Kudela will miss the remainder of this year’s tournament and also the European Championships this summer, where he would have been in action for the Czech Republic.   

Let's be honest, the 34-year-old has probably been saved from a pretty hostile reception at Hampden Park, but all in all his sentence just makes Uefa look plain stupid.  

If football’s governing body really thinks this punishment is going to irradicate racist instances from the game, there is clearly a total lack of understanding about how deep rooted this issue is.  

It’s not like we've not been here before. Year after year countless cases of racism have infiltrated our game, no matter the level, yet Uefa fail to learn that their minimal charges have no lasting effect.   

This season alone we have already had a Uefa accredited fourth official accused of racism, countless high-profile players being targeted via social media and just yesterday Inverness suggested that Nikolay Todorov was the latest victim of a sickening slur.  

Players have 'taken the knee' all season and sported “RESPECT” on their jerseys, but when it really matters, the punishment for racist abuse simply is not working.  

The rational penalty for discriminatory insults must change and the next step must be expulsion from tournaments. After elimination clubs should then be forced to undergo an educational programme from the very top to the grassroots.  

Kudela’s Slavia are on the brink of landing a semi-final spot in the Europa League and with a last four place they have every chance of winning the tournament.  

Imagine if a team including a convicted racist in their ranks was to win one of the most sought-after trophies in European football? It is totally at odds with rational thinking.

Fair play to the Czech outfit in terms of their footballing ability over the two legs against Rangers, but their conduct since then has been nothing short of disgraceful.  

The blame game is one way of putting it and somehow, they have managed to push Uefa into fining the racially abused Kamara.  

The Finnish midfielder was handed a three-match ban for “assaulting” Kudela and Rangers rightfully made a statement late last night where they detailed their concerns over the length of the charge.  

This again shows a lack of understanding within Uefa over the impact of racial abuse. Did they just expect Kamara to shake hands with Kudela following the full-time whistle and say, “well played mate?”  

That is maybe taking it a bit far but surely Kamara’s sentence should have been looked upon with some leniency given what he had experienced? It is this form of common sense that appears to be constantly lacking within football investigations.  

Slavia made a drastic U-turn last night as chief executive Jaroslav Tvrdik sent an apology to Kamara on behalf of his club.  

"Ondřej was suspended for 10 UEFA games and as a club we respect the decision,” he stated. "In any case, Ondřej Kúdela should not have approached the opposition player. 

"I deeply regret that and apologise to Glen Kamara for a situation that has clearly caused distress to him and his teammates, as well as everyone associated with Slavia and Rangers.” 

The sorry speech will never be enough I am afraid, but he did go on to state that he is taking “positive steps to prevent such a situation from happening in our club ever again”.  

Let’s hope this is a truthful statement, but the fact we are still sitting here discussing racism in the so called “beautiful game” in the year 2021 is a sorry state of affairs.  

Footballing great Clarence Seedorf was vocal yesterday saying that players should be immediately sanctioned if they cover their mouth while talking to an opponent or the referee.  

He explained: “From a player’s perspective, I have seen stuff with players speaking and covering their mouth during matches. There were some racist situations in the last weeks or months where the players among themselves had hate speeches. 

“Those things can be very easily attacked by implementing some rules. For me it should be abandoned to be able to speak like that when you approach an adversary. 

“When we’re talking about sport it has to be completely transparent, so why would I cover my mouth if I need to talk with my adversary?” 

While I am in full agreement with this, the former Dutch international also highlighted a lack of leadership at the top of the game to end racism in football.  

 “There is a lot of talk but not enough being done. The need is obvious and very urgent,” he said. ‘Taking the knee’ and having ‘RESPECT’ printed on your shirt are prime examples of this statement.   

The line should have been penned with a permanent marker years ago with regards to racism in football, but it is going to take major change from the top before anything substantial is done about it. 

Seedorf along with Thierry Henry have been outspoken on the issue in recent weeks and it may take more high-profile figures to accelerate change in the game.