The racism incident in Paris overshadowed the day of the Champions League. The players canceled the game – and did everything right.
It was the 14th minute of the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Başakşehir when the Romanian team of referees wanted to send Istanbul assistants Pierre Webó to the stands for unsportsmanlike conduct.
‘The black one there. Go see who he is. The black over there, you can’t do that. ‘ Fourth official Sebastian Coltescu addressed these words to head referee Ovidiu Hategan – and meant audibly to those involved Pierre Webó.
Pierre Webó: The Cameroonian was the victim of racist statements. (Source: VI images / image images)
The Başakşehir players immediately protested – and refused to continue (More about this here). Also on the Paris side, the players around world champion Kylian Mbappé and superstar Neymar expressed their solidarity and demanded the replacement of the fourth official before both teams left the field at around 9:33 PM.
The right sign
Everyone stood behind Webó and gestured: we do not tolerate any form of racism. Webó’s designation as “black” (the Romanian fourth official had used the Romanian word for black – “negru”) revealed that everyday racism should not be a place. There would have been many ways the Fourth Official could describe Webó. He decided exclusively on skin color.
“When you describe someone, you never say ‘this man’, never ‘this white man’. So if you mean a black man, why do you say ‘this black man’ and not ‘this man’? ” He asked visibly Istanbul’s Demba Ba Coltescu hit moments after the incident – and hit the nail on the head.
The decision of both teams to leave the field together was the correct one. The abandonment of the game was not a scandal, there was no alternative.
Demba Ba (2nd from right) complains to referee Hategan about his assistant. (Source: Charles Platiau / Reuters)
French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu spoke of a “historic decision” by the players.
And what about Uefa? In the evening, the union announced that “there is no place in football for racism and discrimination in all its forms”.
Uefa has been preaching “no to racism” for years in his high-profile campaign. If she takes the “slogan” seriously, she should clearly condemn the incidents and ensure that such a statement from an umpire never occurs again.