PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir players walk off the pitch after racist incident

09 December 2020

The Champions League match between PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir ended up being suspended after a racist slur was used by the fourth official Sebastian Coltescu. The fourth official referred to the Turkish team’s assistant Pierre Webó as “that black one over there”. Words that made many players from the two teams angry. Istanbul Basaksehir players refused to return to the pitch unless the fourth referee was dismissed. Finally, the match was suspended after players from both sides walked off the pitch alleging the fourth official used racial language towards Pierre Webó.

Demba Ba, a substitute for Basaksehir was seated next to Pierre Webó and overheard the incident as well. He tried to speak with the fourth official by explaining why the word he used is problematic. The 4th official claimed that the word ‘negru’ means ‘black’ in Romanian. Demba Ba can be overheard saying, “why do you have to point out ‘that black guy’, you would not do the same for with a white guy, you would just say ‘that guy’.

It took a short time for social media to be filled with reactions from users who wanted to show solidarity with the victims of racism.

Both clubs, several players, the Turkish Football Federation and the French sport minister Roxana Maracineau, posted on their social networks too, standing against racism. Short after the match was suspended, Basaksehir posted a picture of UEFA’s own campaign slogan #NoToRacism on their twitter page.

“Tonight, athletes took a historic decision in the face of an attitude they deemed unacceptable. We are awaiting the results of the investigation but I can only salute the strong symbolism of their gesture and their solidarity” Roxana Maracineau.

“Racism is never acceptable. We strongly condemn it” Turkish Football Federation.

“All forms of racism go against the values held by Paris Saint-Germain, the club’s Chairman, staff and players” Paris Saint-Germain.

The match will be finished today with a new team of referees.

Through our programme “Show Racism the Red Card”  we aim to raise awareness on diversity, foster social cohesion, and reduce physical and verbal violence linked to racism.

Are you interested in taking a public stand against racism, using the power of football?


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