Champions League game postponed after players walk off over alleged racism
The Champions League game between Paris Saint-Germain and Basaksehir was postponed when players walked off the field after alleging that fourth official Sebastian Coltescu of Romania used a racial term when identifying an assistant coach.
Players from the Turkish team were furious on Tuesday after assistant coach Pierre Webo was shown a red card by referee Ovidiu Hategan of Romania at Parc des Princes, saying Coltescu had used a racial term to describe Webo, who is from Cameroon, before he was sent off.
Basaksehir substitute Demba Ba demanded that the fourth official explain himself, while PSG players Neymar and Kylian Mbappe also demanded an explanation. Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk said “you are racist” to Coltescu. The score was 0-0 when the incident took place about 15 minutes into the match. UEFA said the match would resume on Wednesday evening with new officials.
“Following an incident at tonight’s UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Istanbul Basaksehir FK, 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,” UEFA said late Tuesday. “A thorough investigation on the incident that took place will be opened immediately,” it added.
Television footage captured the exchange between the fourth official and the referee, with Coltescu telling Hategan that Webo should be reprimanded for his behavior on the sidelines: “Go and give it (the red card) to the Black one, this is not possible (tolerable), go and identify him, go verify, the Black one over there,” Coltescu allegedly said, in Romanian, about Webo.
Webo was enraged and was heard to repeat at least six times “Why you say negro?” as he sought an explanation from Coltescu. Moments later, Ba came off the bench and stood in front of Coltescu and said: “Why when you mention a black guy, you have to say ‘This black guy?’“ During the interruption, Basaksehir posted a message on Twitter against a UEFA backdrop with the message “NO TO RACISM.”
PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe, who was on the field during the game, also posted that message on his Twitter account. Seven years ago, Hategan was in charge of a match between CSKA Moscow and Manchester City when City’s black players were racially abused. City captain Yaya Toure directed referee Hategan toward fans making monkey noises at the English club’s black players.
Michel Platini, UEFA’s president at the time, requested an internal inquiry involving the referee to examine why guidelines were not followed to respond to discrimination incidents during matches.