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PSG, Basaksehir players walk off after alleged racism by match official

PSG, Basaksehir players walk off after alleged racism by match official
Pierre Webo (right) was livid when he was allegedly identified as ‘the black one over there’ by the fourth official.
London, Dec 9 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 12/9/2020 12:16:09 PM IST

The Champions League clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir was abandoned on Tuesday night as both sets of players walked off after fourth official Sebastian Coltescu was accused of racism.

The Group H encounter was suspended midway through the first half after Pierre Webo, Basaksehir’s black assistant manager, vehemently protested a decision on the touchline.  As the referee came over, footage appeared to show Coltescu identifying Webo by saying: ‘The black one over there. Go and check who he is. The black one over there, it’s not possible to act like that’. It is believed Coltescu said ‘negru’, the Romanian word for black. A furious Webo heard this and immediately accused Coltescu of racism. He had to be restrained by other members of the coaching staff as he was shown a straight red card. According to French outlet RMC Sport, Webo’s red card has since been suspended by UEFA and he can be on the touchline on Wednesday for the rearranged fixture should he wish to be. Ex-Chelsea striker Demba Ba, a substitute for the Turkish side, charged in the direction of Coltescu to question why he had used the word to identify Webo. He said: ‘You never say “this white guy”, you say “this guy”, so why when you’re mentioning him... listen to me... why when you mention a black guy, why do you say “this black guy”.’ 

Coltescu is a top-flight referee in Romania, but is reportedly officiating in his final European campaign after being demoted by FIFA. 

Last night he apologised, saying: ‘Sorry for the misunderstanding. My intention was never racism. 

‘In such an environment, people sometimes cannot express their feelings correctly and can be misunderstood. I apologise on behalf of the UEFA Champions League. I hope you understand.’

In a conversation with relatives, which emerged on Wednesday morning in Romanian media, Coltescu has defended his character.  

‘I just try to be good,’ he said, according to Romanian outlet ProSport. ‘I’m not going to read any news sites these next few days. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not racist! At least that’s what I hope.’ 

A UEFA investigation has been launched following the postponement of the match at the Parc des Princes as both sets of players refused to continue midway through the first half.  

While there is little to no precedent of an official being handed a 10-match ban,  UEFA said in a statement that ‘a thorough investigation will be opened immediately’ and that Coltescu does face the prospect of a minimum 10-game ban if found guilty of using racist language on the touchline.

Article 3 of UEFA’s disciplinary rules cites both match officials and players — which means they can be punished by the governing body for offences.

Article 14 of UEFA’s code would be used to exact punishment onto the official if he is deemed guilty following the ongoing investigation.

Players and staff from both teams then got involved, and the Turkish side left the pitch after around 10 minutes of discussions with referee Ovidiu Hategan.

TV footage also showed PSG’s French defender Presnel Kimpembe saying: ‘Is he serious? We are heading in. We’re heading in. That’s it, we’re heading in.’  

 

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