Former defender Rio Ferdinand says football is at a “tipping point” and those in power must make a stand after Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris Saint-Germain players walked off the pitch on Tuesday amid accusations a match official used a racist term.
The Champions League Group H match at Parc des Princes was suspended in the 13th minute when fourth official Sebastian Coltescu was accused of directing a racist term towards Basaksehir’s assistant coach Pierre Webo.
The incident comes days after some fans at Millwall’s English Championship match against Derby County booed the players when they took a knee in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement on Saturday.
“We’re at a disturbing tipping point,” former England international Ferdinand told BT Sport. “We’ve got Millwall, the PSG game today, all in the same week. Not a week goes by at the moment without an incident involving race.
“We’re at the point now where something needs to be done, we’re saying it all of the time, but the powers that be within this game need to make a huge stand.”
UEFA said it will launch a “thorough investigation” into the incident and that the remainder of the match would be played on Wednesday with a new team of match officials taking charge.
PSG playmaker Neymar posted a picture of himself on Twitter alongside the caption: ‘Black Lives Matter’ while team mate Kylian Mbappe expressed his support for Cameroonian Webo.
“SAY NO TO RACISM,” he wrote on Twitter. “WEBO WE ARE WITH YOU.”
SAY NO TO RACISM. ❌❌❌ M.WEBO WE ARE WITH YOU. ✊🏽 — Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) December 8, 2020
Former Australia striker John Aloisi was angered by the incident but praised the action taken by the players.
“It is very powerful. Let’s hope it’s a turning point,” Aloisi said on Optus Sport’s coverage.
“I played with Pierre Webo – a great guy – to see him get so angry. It hurts.”