Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir staged an unprecedented joint strike against racism on Tuesday by a Champions League match official, which prompted UEFA, the European sports governing body, to suspend the match and launch an investigation.
The final group match between the two teams, which took place at the Princes Park stadium in Paris, was postponed to Wednesday after the players left the pitch saying that fourth official Sebastian Coltescu from Romania used a racial term for Identify the Cameroonian assistant coach of Basaksehir, Pierre Webo.
“I strongly condemn the racist remarks made against Pierre Webo, one of our representatives in the Basaksehir technical team, and I believe that the necessary measures will be taken by UEFA. We are unconditionally against racism and discrimination in sport and in all areas of life, ”Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter.
I strongly condemn the racist remarks made against Pierre Webo from the technical team of our representative Başakşehir, and I believe that the necessary measures will be taken by UEFA.
We are unconditionally against racism and discrimination in sport and in all areas of life. #No to racism
– Recep Tayyip Erdogan (@RTErdogan) December 8, 2020
The flash point hit the sideline 14 minutes into the game, and an enraged Webo demanded an explanation from Coltescu, repeating at least six times, “Why do you say nigger?” before being expelled for his conduct on the sidelines.
“You are a racist,” Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk told Coltescu.
The exchanges were broadcast live around the world from the biggest football club competition.
Racism in Paris. pic.twitter.com/x9Y9mzZKC1
– Juliet Bawuah (@julietbawuah) December 8, 2020
Both teams took to Twitter to express their disapproval of the events.
Basaksehir’s official Twitter page released a statement saying that “our footballers have decided not to go to the pitch due to the racism that 4th referee Sebastian Coltescu has expressed against our assistant coach Pierre Webo”.
– İstanbul Başakşehir (@ ibfk2014) December 8, 2020
PSG echoed this sentiment, tweeting that “any form of racism goes against the values conveyed by Paris Saint-Germain, its president, its staff and its players”.
Basaksehir replacement Demba Ba demanded an explanation for the fourth official, while PSG players Neymar and Kylian Mbappe also demanded an explanation.
SAY NO TO RACISM. ❌❌❌
M.WEBO WE ARE WITH YOU. ✊🏽
– Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) December 8, 2020
“The departure of both Basaksehir and PSG is a milestone in Europe,” Piara Powar, executive director of the anti-discrimination network Fare, told The Associated Press.
“Many players are fed up with half-measures to fight racism and are more prepared than ever to exercise their right to stop a game.
“Our colleagues from the Romanian National Anti-Discrimination Organization have confirmed that it is racist in Romanian to refer to a player using his race as an identifier. There is no ambiguity. This incident shows the need for better training of match officials. Unintentional racism is always racism. “
The same Romanian referee who took charge of the match in Paris on Tuesday – Ovidiu Hategan – was also in charge of the 2013 Champions League match when Manchester City player Yaya Touré complained about the lack of action against Les monkey noises he heard from CSKA Moscow fans.
“If officials cannot set the standards by their own behavior, they cannot be used to deal with racism on the pitch or in the stands,” Powar added.
The referees have often been criticized for not leading the players off the field and letting them make the decision.
England decided to continue playing a men’s international in Montenegro last year after Callum Hudson-Odoi and Danny Rose were targeted with monkey chants.
“The departure of the players is a step in the right direction,” former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand told BT Sport. “But that cannot be left to them.”