The image at the start of the match is strong. The players of Paris-Saint-Germain and Basaksehir Istanbul and the new referees appointed dropped a knee on Wednesday evening, December 9, before the resumption of their match in the Champions League, the day after their meeting was interrupted after accusations of racism against the refereeing body.
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After warming up in a white T-shirt adorned with the logo of both clubs and the slogan ‘No to racism’, the players of both teams and the referees gathered, as expected, around the center circle, as the The Parc des Princes screen featured the UEFA slogan “No to racism / Respect”.
All of them put their knees to the ground, a gesture that has become a symbol, in the United States and then in the world, of the Black Lives Matter movement against racism and police violence.
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Most, including superstars Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, also raised their fists and, for some, bowed their heads.
The four referees replaced
Tuesday, the Champions League group match between PSG and the Turkish champion was interrupted after less than a quarter of an hour of play, the assistant coach of Basaksehir, Pierre Achille Webo, furious at being appointed as “a black” by an assistant referee. The players of both teams then left the field.
The incident, which raised a general impetus against racism in the football world, prompted UEFA to postpone the remaining 76 minutes of the match, in which all four referees were replaced, until the next day.
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The stands of the Parc des Princes, behind closed doors, were lined with banners against racism. In the Paris tribune, two official banners with the logos of the two clubs proclaim, in French and English, “No to racism”.
In the Auteuil stand that they usually occupy, the Parisian ultras have hung the messages “ Support for Mr. Webo… proud of the players… against racism ”and“ Paris united against racism ”.
In an evening when the spirits were still in the controversy over racism, Neymar delivered a football festival at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday against Basaksehir Istanbul by signing a hat-trick: a beautifully wound shot (21e), one against (36e) and a heavy strike at the entrance to the area (50e), plus a penalty offered to Kylian Mbappé.
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The Brazilian shone to offer PSG, already guaranteed to go to the knockout stages of the Champions League, first place in Group H. Another victory.