Players also wore t-shirts with the slogan ‘No to racism’ before the Champions League game restarted on Wednesday.
Paris Saint-Germain soccer player Neymar defended his side and Istanbul Basaksehir’s decision to leave the pitch in Tuesday’s Champions League game following alleged racist comments by an official, the player on dearest in the world declaring that racism “has no place in football or in life”.
PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir concluded their final group game on Wednesday, with Neymar scoring a hat-trick and saying both sides felt compelled to take a stand against racism in what was an unprecedented protest over an alleged comment by an official.
PSG won the game 5-1 after picking up where they left off the day before, in the 14th minute, following a row on the sideline over charges, Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu , had described the Cameroonian assistant coach of Basaksehir Pierre Webo of “black”, or “negru” in Romanian.
“Sometimes in extreme circumstances these things have to be done to see if the world can change a bit,” said Neymar, who, along with other players and the new team of officials, gathered around the circle central and took a knee before the restart on Wednesday. in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Players also sported t-shirts with the slogan ‘No to racism’ while warming up at Parc des Princes, where large banners in empty stands carried the same message.
“What happened was unacceptable. In the times we live in, we cannot accept differences like this on color or race, ”Neymar told French television channel RMC Sport. “He has no place in football, or in life, or in any sport, so our attitude was perfect.”
Coltescu and the other Romanian match officials have been replaced for the resumption by a new team of referees led by Dutchman Danny Makkelie.
Basaksehir had already been knocked out of the Champions League even before this game but they left their mark on the competition with their response to the treatment of Webo, who was sent off as he reacted with fury to the alleged comment.
This red card was suspended by UEFA pending an investigation, the governing body of European football promising a “thorough investigation”.
‘Show that we can live together’
“The fourth official used a word unacceptable to Pierre Achille Webo. The referee should have handled the situation properly but did not. We had to show that we were with Webo, ”said Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk.
The Turkish champions refused to resume the game on Tuesday as long as fourth official Coltescu was still involved.
“Webo was upset. We all gave him our support, but it was someone else who should feel bad and he was the one who used the words. He is the culprit. We have to show that we can all live together. Humanity is the most important thing.
TV microphones in the empty stadium picked up an angry Webo repeatedly asking why a racist term was used to describe him.
In the exchange in question between the all-Romanian refereeing team, Coltescu said: “The black over there. It is not possible. Go identify it. This guy, the black guy.
Senegalese Basaksehir striker Demba Ba could be heard admonishing the official in English, saying: “When you talk about a white man, you never say ‘that white guy’, you just say ‘this. guy ‘, so why when you talk about a black man do you say “that black man?”
The incident drew reactions from around the world, with Rio Ferdinand, the former Manchester United and England defender and now television expert, telling UK BT Sport: ‘I think we are at a disturbing tipping point. Not a week goes by without a racial incident.
“The departure of the players is a step in the right direction, but it cannot be left to them.”