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UEFA Champions League: Players, Officials Take Knee As PSG vs Istanbul Basaksehir Game Resumes

Players, Officials Take Knee  Photo Credit: PSG Twitter)

Players, Officials Take Knee Photo Credit: PSG Twitter)

Players from Paris SaintGermain and Istanbul Basaksehir warmed up wearing Tshirts with No To Racism written on them and then took a knee together with the match officials before their Champions League game resumed on Wednesday.

Players from Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir warmed up wearing T-shirts with No To Racism written on them and then took a knee together with the match officials before their Champions League game resumed on Wednesday.

The match was postponed on Tuesday when outraged players from both sides walked off the field early in the game, after alleging that fourth official Sebastian Coltescu of Romania had used a racial term when identifying Pierre Webo, a Black assistant coach with Basaksehir.

Match officials also wore the T-shirts, which featured the club logos of both sides.

They then all gathered around the center circle and took a knee to support the fight against racism. Many players raised their fists, including PSG star Neymar who bowed his head pensively.

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There were two banners side by side in the stadium with a message against racism, written in English and French, and another supporting Webo, who also wore the T-shirt when he warmed up with the squad.

The game restarted with the clock at 13 minutes, 30 seconds with a free kick for Basaksehir. That was the moment when play was suspended with the score at 0-0 after players walked off the field.

They were enraged at the language used by Coltescu when identifying Webo to referee Ovidiu Hategan, who had asked which assistant coach should be sent off.

Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk said you are racist to Coltescu, asking him to leave the field, while PSG striker Kylian Mbappe was heard saying he did not want to play unless Coltescu left.

New footage from broadcaster RMC on Wednesday shows Coltescu explaining to PSG’s sporting director Leonardo why he used the Romanian word ‘negru’ which means black to describe Webo.

Television footage captured an exchange in which Hategan was told by Coltescu that Webo should be reprimanded for his behaviour on the sidelines following a heavy foul on one of his team’s players.

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 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 and had to be restrained by another member of Basaksehirs staff.

Basaksehir striker Demba Ba twice asked Why is the fourth official saying negro? while Mbappe continued to ask the referee for an explanation.

The use of the word prompted much debate as to its usage in Romania. But French Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu, of Romanian origin, said the main point was that a person should never be identified in this way.

Pointing at a person someone via (skin) color, that is unacceptable and inexcusable, she said on French radio.

UEFA is launching an investigation and replaced all the match officials for the resumption of the game, designating Dutch referee Danny Makkelie to take charge on Wednesday.

The French soccer league, meanwhile, announced that players will be asked to gather around a slogan reading Let’s continue to gain ground against racism before matches in the first and second division this weekend.

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first published:December 09, 2020, 23:54 IST