Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir staged an unprecedented joint walkout over racism by a Champions League match official on Tuesday, prompting UEFA, the sport’s European governing body, to suspend the game and launch an investigation.
The final group game between the two teams, which took place at the Princes Park stadium in Paris, was postponed until Wednesday after players walked off the field saying that fourth official Sebastian Coltescu of Romania used a racial term when identifying Basaksehir’s Cameroonian assistant coach, Pierre Webo.
“I strongly condemn the racist remarks made against Pierre Webo, one of our representatives in the Basaksehir’s technical team, and I believe that the necessary steps will be taken by UEFA. We are unconditionally against racism and discrimination in sports and all areas of life,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter.
Temsilcimiz Başakşehir’in teknik ekibinden Pierre Webo'ya karşı sarf edilen ırkçı sözleri şiddetle kınıyor, UEFA tarafından gereken adımların atılacağına inanıyorum.
Sporda ve hayatın tüm alanlarında ırkçılığa ve ayrımcılığa kayıtsız şartsız karşıyız. #Notoracism
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) December 8, 2020
The flashpoint came on the touchline 14 minutes into the game and an enraged Webo demanded an explanation from Coltescu, repeating at least six times: “Why you say negro?” before he was sent off for his conduct on the sidelines.
“You are racist,” Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk said to Coltescu.
The exchanges were broadcast live around the world from football’s biggest club competition.
Both teams turned to Twitter to express their disapproval of the events.
Basaksehir’s official Twitter page published a statement saying “our footballers decided not to go on the field due to the racism that the 4th referee Sebastian Coltescu expressed against our assistant coach Pierre Webo”.