Istanbul Basaksehir’s players, closely followed by their opponents Paris St Germain, left the pitch during a Champions League game on Tuesday after the Turkish club accused a match official of racism.
Basaksehir’s Cameroonian assistant coach Pierre Webo was shown a red card in the 13th minute for protesting against a refereeing decision and the Turkish side then walked off the pitch after about 10 minutes of discussions with Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan. PSG then also left the field.
“Our assistant coach, Pierre Webo has been sent off with a ‘racist’ word by the 4th official ref. of the match. Match has stopped for a while,” Istanbul Basaksehir said on the club’s official Twitter feed.
The State-owned Anadolu news agency quoted the Basaksehir club’s president as saying the players would not go back onto the field as long as the fourth referee was still there.
“Following an alleged incident involving the 4th official, the match was temporarily suspended,” European soccer’s governing body UEFA said in a statement.
“After consultation with both teams, it was agreed that the match would restart with a different 4th official.
“UEFA will thoroughly investigate the matter and further communication will be made in due course.”
The fourth official Sebastian Coltescu was speaking Romanian, with TV footage showing him saying, ‘The black one over there. Go and check who he is. The black one over there, it’s not possible to act like that’ after Webo had vehemently protested against a refereeing decision.
“Why he say negro?”, Basaksehir substitute Demba Ba repeatedly asked match referee Hategan as confusion reigned on the touchline in the Group H match.
TV footage also showed PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe saying ‘Is he serious? We are heading in. We’re heading in. That’s it, we’re heading in.”
Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter he believed UEFA would take the necessary steps.
“We are unconditionally against racism and discrimination in sports and in all areas of life,” he wrote.
Basaksehir posted UEFA’s ‘No to Racism’ banner on Twitter, a post that was retweeted by PSG on their own official account.