The Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir was suspended until the following day after players from both sides walked off the pitch on Tuesday, alleging a match official used racial language toward the Turkish side’s assistant coach.
Players from the Turkish team were furious, saying fourth official Sebastian Coltescu of Romania had used a racist term against assistant coach Pierre Webo, who is from Cameroon, before he was sent off with a red card at Parc des Princes. Match referee Ovidiu Hategan of Romania had shown Webo the red card.
“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.
Basaksehir’s club president said the players would not go back onto the field as long as the fourth referee was still there.
“Following an alleged incident involving the fourth official, the match was temporarily suspended,” European football’s governing body, UEFA, said in a statement.
“After consultation with both teams, it was agreed that the match would restart with a different fourth 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 [did] 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.”
UEFA offered to swap the fourth official and the assistant VAR, but Basaksehir refused to restart anyway, saying that they wanted the fourth referee out of the game completely.
Basaksehir posted UEFA’s “No to Racism” banner on Twitter, a post that was retweeted by PSG on their own official account. The match will resume on Wednesday at 12.55 p.m. ET (6:55 p.m. Paris time), UEFA said.
After the match, PSG tweeted: “Any form of racism goes against the values conveyed by Paris Saint-Germain, its President, its staff and its players.”
Information from Reuters was added to this report