Paris Saint-Germain are the runners-up of the UEFA Champions League, having lost the final to Bayern Munich in the final last season. They are currently in the second spot, in the group table, of the ongoing season and have qualified for the pre-quarters.
In what could be considered as one of the dramatic and dark moments in the history of UEFA Champions League, French champions Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir decided to give a walkover in their final group stage clash, in Paris, on Tuesday, following a racial slur.
As per reports, Basaksehir assistant coach, Pierre Webo, was involved in a heated row with the fourth official, Sebastian Coltescu, as one of the staff members accused the latter of using a racial term against one of their players. It happened at the 14th-minute mark, with the score being goalless, as 10 minutes later, the players decided to walk off, as PSG sailed into the pre-quarters, following Manchester United’s loss to RB Leipzig.
According to the replays shown on television and AFP’s translation, Coltescu had told Webo, “The black one over there. This is not possible. Go and identify him. That guy, the black one.” Following this, Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk told Coltescu “You are racist.”
Meanwhile, Webo was repeatedly seen chanting at Coltescu “Why you say negro?” Later, Basaksehir player Demba Ba joined the argument, saying “Why when you mention a Black guy, you have to say ‘This Black guy?’”
Here is footage from the PSG Vs Istanbul Basaksehir game pic.twitter.com/di1sE8sWdL— Eesa (@EESX1LFC) December 8, 2020
“The fourth official used the word ‘negro' in front of everybody. If the fourth official is removed from the pitch, then we will restart,” said Basaksehir president Göksel Gümüsdag to TRT Spor.
Here are the videos of the incident:
PSG vs. Istanbul Basaksehir has been suspended as both teams walked off the field to protest alleged racial abuse by the fourth official toward Istanbul assistant manager Pierre Webo.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 8, 2020
(via @UCLonCBSSports) pic.twitter.com/tVd4lqGnMI
Meanwhile, Basaksehir tweeted UEFA’s anti-racism photo, captioned “NO TO RACISM | #Respect”, while PSG retweeted the same.
All forms of racism go against the values held by Paris Saint-Germain, the club’s Chairman, staff and players.— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) December 8, 2020
ℹ Our players has taken a decision NOT TO go back on the pitch after our Assistant Coach, Pierre Webo has been exposed to racist behaviour by the 4th Official.— Istanbul Basaksehir ENG (@ibfk2014En) December 8, 2020
For the kind consideration. #NoToRacism
Following the incident, UEFA sent out a series of tweets, saying “UEFA is aware of an incident during tonight’s Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir, and will be conducting a thorough investigation. Racism and discrimination, in all its forms, has no place within football. #NoToRacism.”
“UEFA has - after discussion with both clubs – decided on an exceptional basis to have the remaining minutes of the match played tomorrow with a new team of match officials. The kick-off has been set at 18:55 CET,” added UEFA.
UEFA has - after discussion with both clubs – decided on an exceptional basis to have the remaining minutes of the match played tomorrow with a new team of match officials. The kick-off has been set at 18:55 CET.— UEFA (@UEFA) December 8, 2020
The executive director of the anti-discrimination Fare network, Piara Powar, told AP, “The walk-off by both Basaksehir and PSG together lays down a marker in Europe. Many players are fed up with half measures to tackle racism and are more prepared than ever to exercise their right to stop a match.”
“Our colleagues at the Romanian state anti-discrimination organization have confirmed it is racist in Romanian to refer to a player by using his race as an identifier. There is no ambiguity. This incident shows the need for much better training of match officials. Unintentional racism is still racism,” added Powar.
Also, here’s how Belgium national coach Roberto Martinez reacted to the incident:
Roberto Martinez reflects on what happened during the PSG vs. Istanbul match. pic.twitter.com/XBd5dqYMWZ— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) December 8, 2020
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Last Updated Dec 9, 2020, 2:53 PM IST