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 were posted in the stadium. It said, among other things: “Support for M. Webo … Proud of the players … against racism” and “Paris united against racism”. Istanbul assistant coach Pierre Webo, who had been punished with a red card the night before, was allowed to sit on the bench – and saw the Turkish champion lose 5-1 on Wednesday. With this, PSG entered the knockout round as the first group for RB Leipzig.

But goalscorers and results were secondary. Tuesday evening’s events were already recognized as a “sign in Europe” or “historic decision”. Seldom in the history of professional football has a halted game elicited such reactions. Basaksehir and PSG showed strength and determination with their joint departure from the grass 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 play 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, pushed mainly by former Hoffenheim Bundesliga professional Demba Ba, who now plays for the Turkish champions, paid tribute to politics, 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 will release 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”. Fighting 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 referred to as “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.

One thought on “PSG wins after an evening full of symbolism”
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