Paris (AP) – During the warm-up, the professionals from Paris Saint-Germain and Basaksehir Istanbul and the referees wore white T-shirts with the logos of both clubs and the inscription “No to Racism” (No to Racism).
Before kick-off, the players knelt around the center circle and raised a fist – as a gesture against racism, as a tribute to American football pro Colin Kaepernick.
The day after the Champions League match at the Prinzenpark in Paris ended, was also a day of symbolism and strong gestures. Banners against racism hung in the stadium. It read, among other things, “Support for M. Webo … Proud of the players … against racism” and “Paris united against racism”. Istanbul assistant coach Pierre Webo, who was punished with a red card the night before, was allowed to sit on the bench – and saw the Turkish champion beat 5-1 on Wednesday. With this, PSG entered the knockout round as the first group for RB Leipzig.
But goalscorers and results were secondary. “It was a very brave decision,” said PSG coach Thomas Tuchel of the previous day’s events. His team took a “strong decision” and showed “solidarity with the opponent,” said the former Bundesliga coach. “In the dressing room it quickly became clear that they wanted to show this reaction,” said Tuchel. “A lot has been said, but the truth is there is nothing better than action,” said star striker Kylian Mbappé. Up to 5: 1 (3: 0) he contributed two goals (42./Foulelfmeter/62.), The excellent Neymar scored three times (21st, 38th, 50th) with a goal from Mehmet Topal (57th). “We are tired, we don’t want to take it anymore. We are all human and that was unbearable,” said Mbappé.
The events were already recognized the night before as a “sign in Europe” or “historic decision”. Rarely in the history of professional football has a strike of a match elicited such reactions. Basaksehir and PSG showed their strength and determination with their joint departure from the field following an incident of racism by the assistant referee.
“There is no place for discrimination. Not in football, not in the world,” wrote PSG professional Thilo Kehrer, Brazilian superstar Neymar published a “BLACK LIVES MATTER”, and Kylian Mbappé said: “Say no to Racism M. Webo we are with you “(We are with you). Because the guests from Turkey refused to continue playing on Tuesday-evening after the statements of the fourth official, UEFA decided not to whistle the game again shortly before midnight and to continue with a new referee team on Wednesday-evening if the score was 0-0 after 15 minutes.
The teams’ decision, especially under pressure from former Hoffenheim Bundesliga professional Demba Ba, who now plays for the Turkish champions, has been respected by politicians, associations and top international stars. “Tonight, athletes made a historic decision on an attitude they considered unacceptable,” French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu wrote on Twitter. You can only agree to “the strong symbolism of your gesture and your solidarity.”
UEFA has appointed an ethics and disciplinary inspector to handle the incidents and has released further information “shortly”. DFB referee Lutz Michael Fröhlich (63) also wants to raise the issue with the German referees. “The incident in Paris is an opportunity for us to also draw the attention of our referees to the sensitivity of this issue,” he told the “Bild”. Being against racism is “the top priority for players, coaches – as well as referees,” said Fröhlich.
The DFB integration officer Cacau described the behavior of the professionals as “appropriate and exemplary”. It is shocking that the alleged racist insult came from the referee. “This is a new level, if you can put it that way,” said the 39-year-old former pro at VfB Stuttgart on Sky TV.
There was no question about what had happened. The assistant coach of the guests, former Cameroonian international Pierre Webo, saw the red card in the first half. It is said to be a racist insult by the fourth official. Sebastian Colţescu was accused of using a racist formulation for black people, now called “N-word” in German.
This expression was clearly heard during the TV broadcast in the empty Prinzenparkstadion. It was also heard that the Romanian referee team was trying to defend itself by saying the fourth official had used the Romanian word for black (negru) and not the “N word”.
Webo, Ba and others could then be heard loudly pointing out that the referees had also not said “the white one” to identify a white player. Basaksehir tweeted the UEFA No to Racism – Respect campaign logo immediately after the incident.
Thousands of people expressed their solidarity on social networks and Bundesliga clubs also opposed racism. The “Fare” network against discrimination judged the events as an important signal in the fight against racism. “The fact that Basaksehir and PSG have left the field together is a message in Europe,” said Fare director Piara Powar of AP news agency.