A referee accused of racism during the PSG-Basaksehir match: the story of the events

PSG and Basaksehir Istanbul had been playing their Champions League match for less than a quarter of an hour when the meeting was interrupted amid accusations of racism brought by the Turks against the fourth referee, a first in history of C1.

“Why do you say ‘that black’? “

Tuesday evening, in the field, the atmosphere was very tense. Neymar suffers fouls every time he has the ball. In the first quarter of an hour of play, two Basaksehir players, Mahmut Tekdemir (10th) then Rafael (12th), are sanctioned with a yellow card.

“Shame on you! “ (” It is shameful ! “), launched a defender of Basaksehir after a decision of the referee, Ovidiu Hategan. The 40-year-old Romanian is a veteran of the Champions League, where he has refereed since 2011, with more than thirty matches to his name.

But after another clash, this time involving Parisian defender Presnel Kimpembe, the tone rises on the Basaksehir sidelines. Pierre Achille Webo, Cameroonian assistant to Turkish coach Okan Buruk, disputes a decision of the referee.

A discussion ensued, in Romanian, between Ovidiu Hategan and the fourth referee, Sebastian Coltescu, also Romanian. The referee gives a red card to Webo, who protests in English, claiming to have heard “Nigga”, term very steeped in racism in French and English, in the mouth of Sebastian Coltescu.

The tension mounts and as the clock continues to tick, the players of both teams and the referee gather at the edge of the pitch.

According to televised images, the Senegalese Basaksehir Demba Ba, substitute, protests to the fourth referee. “You never say this white, you say that one, so when you talk about a black man, why do you say this black ? “, he gets carried away.

Sebastian Coltescu retorts by evoking the Romanian language, in which “Negru” (“Black”) does not have a racist connotation. According to excerpts from the conversation between the two referees broadcast on television and translated by an AFP journalist, the fourth referee said in Romanian “The black over there. It is not possible. Go check who it is. That one, the black one ”.

Raised fists

After ten minutes of explanations, the players of the Turkish club leave the lawn, followed by those of PSG, under some applause from the staff in the Parc des Princes behind closed doors. According to PSG, “The referee invited the two teams to return to their respective locker room”.

“The fourth referee said nigga in front of everyone ! If the fourth referee is removed from the field, then we will resume. If the fourth referee stays on the pitch, then Basaksehir will not come back ”club president Göksel Gümüsdag told Turkish television channel TRT Spor.

Social networks quickly took hold of the events. The Basaksehir tweeted the UEFA slogan “No to racism / Respect”, accompanied by emojis representing raised fists, white and black.

Players from all over Europe have engaged by sharing these fists: the Brazilian Everton Richarlison, then the Turks of the French Championship Umut Bozok (Lorient) and Yusuf Yazici (Lille).

The affair very quickly took a political turn. After several ministers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, known to be very close to the leaders of Basaksehir, “Strongly condemns the racist remarks made against Pierre Webo, member of the technical staff of Basaksehir”. On Twitter he said to himself “Convinced that UEFA will take the necessary measures”.

PSG players Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappé also denounced racism, the first by sharing on Instagram “No to racism”, the second by affirming “Mr. Webo we are with you”, accompanied by a raised fist.

The match will only resume this Wednesday, December 9 at 6:55 p.m.

Players leaving the field, a “historic” decision

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu greeted on Tuesday “Strong symbolism” Paris SG and Istanbul Basaksehir players leaving the lawn of the Parc des Princes, after accusations of racism brought by the Turks against the fourth referee of the Champions League match. “Tonight, athletes and athletes have taken a historic decision in the face of an attitude they deemed unacceptable”, wrote the Minister on Twitter.

“An expression of ordinary racism. We are awaiting the results of the investigation but I can only salute the strong symbolism of their gesture and their solidarity ”, added the French minister, born in Romania, country of the 4th referee incriminated Tuesday by the Turkish players.

A “Thorough investigation” will be conducted by UEFA after accusations of racism concerning Romania’s fourth referee in the Champions League match between Paris SG and Basaksehir Istanbul, the governing body of European football announced on Tuesday.

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