Players from PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir left in a game after the Turkish club accused an official of racism.
UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings in Tuesday’s Champions League match between Paris St Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir when the players withdrew during a game after the Turkish club accused a match official of racism.
European football’s governing body said on Wednesday it had appointed an ethics and discipline inspector to “conduct a disciplinary investigation into the incident”.
A disciplinary investigation can lead to sanctions and match officials are covered by the UEFA disciplinary regulations which are regularly used to sanction clubs and players.
The incident was sparked when Basaksehir’s assistant coach Pierre Webo was given a red card for protesting a referee decision and the Turkish side then alleged that Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu used a racist term with reference to Cameroonian.
Players from both teams left the pitch after around 10 minutes of talks with Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan, a first in European football.
The match, which was suspended after 13 minutes, will end Wednesday at 17.55 GMT with new referees.
Television footage showed the fourth official Coltescu saying in Romanian: “The black over there. Go see who he is. The black man over there, it is not possible to act like that, ”after Webo vehemently protested against an arbitration decision.
“Why does he say nigger?” Basaksehir’s substitute Demba Ba repeatedly asked match referee Hategan as confusion reigned on the sideline in the Group H match. The Romanian word for the black color is “negru”.
“The Romanian Football Federation strongly distinguishes itself from any action or statement of a racist or xenophobic nature,” the federation (FRF) said in a statement, adding that it was waiting for the UEFA report “to find out exactly what is happening. ‘passed and act accordingly “.
“Racism and discrimination in all its forms have no place in football,” the governing body said in a statement.
Natacha Butler of Al Jazeera of Paris said teams would normally be penalized for refusing to play, but UEFA had made an exception given the circumstances.
“Nevertheless, once again this latest incident has raised the issue of racism in sport, racism in football,” she said.
“And that will only add to the pressure on football governing bodies and football officials to do more to crack down on racism in sport.
The players are fed up
Romanian Sports Minister Ionut Stroe apologized for the incident.
“We strongly condemn any statement which could be considered racist or discriminatory,” Stroe told Digi24 television.
“I apologize on behalf of Romanian sport for this unfortunate incident. It was an incident, it does not represent Romanian sport.
Piara Powar, executive director of anti-racism campaign and monitoring group Fare, said: “This incident shows the need for better training of match officials. Unintentional racism is always racism. While officials cannot set the standards by their own behavior, they cannot be called upon to deal with racism on the pitch or in the stands. “
Powar said the departure showed the mood of the players when it comes to racism issues.
“The departure of Basaksehir and PSG together marks a milestone in Europe. 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, ”he added.
The president of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, congratulated the players for leaving the field.
“I would like to salute the attitude of the two teams who made a strong and exemplary decision when they left the field. These unacceptable incidents have no place in a stadium, ”he said.