Czech players who said female referee ‘belonged in kitchen’ told to train with women’s team

Sparta Prague have sent two players to train with the women’s team after they told a female assistant referee to stay in the kitchen.

Lukas Vacha and Tomas Koubek were condemned by the Czech FA chairman and their club appointed them as ambassadors of the women’s team following comments they made against the assistant referee Lucie Ratajova last weekend.

Ratajova failed to notice a clear offside as Sparta lost a 3-2 lead in the 92nd minute against Zbrojovka Brno following a goal by Alois Hycka last Sunday.

After the game Vacha, the injured Sparta midfielder, tweeted the assistant referee’s photo with a caption reading “To the cooker”, while the goalkeeper Tomas Koubek told the media after the game: “In my opinion, women should stay at the stove and not officiate men’s football.”

Both players issued apologies on Monday but the Czech FA chairman, Miroslav Pelta, said their statements immediately after the match “are totally unacceptable”. Pelta said: “I would like to emphasise that women are and will be an important part of football and their presence in its structures and at the stands is important for football.

“Football belongs to the wide public including families and women. We are trying to accommodate them and such statements are totally unacceptable. It will certainly be a topic at the next FA executive board meeting and I expect the disciplinary committee to react to it in a corresponding way.”

Sparta warned the two players that “some boundaries” cannot be crossed in statements, and the club have appointed the pair as ambassadors to the women’s team to see “that the women can be skilful somewhere else than at the stove”.

In a club statement Adam Kotalik, the Sparta general director, said: “As much as I understand that the boys were full of emotions after the finish of yesterday’s game, there are some boundaries that they can not cross in their statements.

“As well as serving as ambassadors of the team at the Uefa Women’s Champions League games they will both report to the boss of Sparta women’s teams Dusan Zovinec and will take part at some of the training sessions with one of our women’s team to see with their own eyes that the women can be skilful somewhere else than at the stove, too.”

Ratajova was handed a four-game suspension on Tuesday for two errors in the Brno-Sparta match – she also failed to flag for an offside before a Sparta goal earlier in the game.

On Monday both players apologised on their Facebook accounts, saying their post-match statements were aimed specifically at Ratajova’s error.

Vacha wrote on his page: “I would like to make clear on my statement. The comment was aimed at the specific error that influenced the result of the game, not at any other women. If any of them feel offended by it, I would like to make myself clear that it was not meant in a chauvinistic way at all. I support women in ‘male posts’ and I support women’s football, too.”

Koubek posted on Facebook: “Yesterday in Brno, a mistake occurred that brought many emotions … I said a sentence right after the game that I feel sorry for now and I would like to apologise to all the women. It was not meant in a chauvinistic way, the words were aimed at a specific person and a specific situation that occurred during the game. At the opposite, I love my girls and want them to achieve something in their lives that we can be proud of.”

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