Champions, PSG and Başakşehir protest against racism

Başakşehir to ask for disqualification of referees involved in racist incident

Başakşehir, which thanks the support by PSG players, considers that the racist behaviour of the referees makes them unfit for football.

Istanbul’s Başakşehir has asked UEFA to ban for life the group of referees who starred in the controversial racist incident in the Champions League match played this week in Paris against PSG, after the fourth official, Romanian Sebastian Coltescu, addressed Pierre Webo calling him “nigger.”

In a press conference organised after his arrival in Istanbul by the president of the Turkish club, Göksel Gümüşdağ, he assured that the December 8 game against PSG will be remembered in the history of the sport as the first in which the players refused to play a Champions League match to protest against racism.

During the incident, motivated by Webo protesting a referee’s decision, an argument took place between the Uruguayan nationalised Cameroonian, who is Başakşehir’s assistant coach, and the fourth official, Sebastian Coltescu, who then addressed the main referee saying “kick this nigger out.” It was then that, while receiving the red card, Webo reacted by protesting the racist language used by Costescu.

Although Coltescu later tried to justify his words – apparently spoken in Romanian – by saying that he had simply referred to the colour of Webo’s skin to identify him, immediately players from both Başakşehir and PSG got into an argument with the referees, recriminating the attitude of the assistant, and decided to leave the field of play.

Thanks to the PSG players for their support

Subsequently, UEFA launched an investigation and annulled Webo’s red card, contesting the remaining time of the match the next day with a totally different group of referees due to Başakşehir’s refusal to accept that only the fourth official, the main protagonist of the incident, should be changed. The match, at the start of which both players and referees knelt on the pitch as a sign of protest against racism, ended with a 5-1 victory for PSG.

As explained by the president of Başakşehir, as a result of the events the club has sent a letter to UEFA this Friday in which it demands a disqualification for life for the four referees from the first match considering that in addition to the assistant, the rest of colleges did not act correctly either by not condemning the racist comments of their partner.

For his part, the Başakşehir coach, Okan Buruk, expressed his wish that what happened with this game would mark a before and after in the world of football, while thanking PSG for their support and especially Neymar, Mbappe and Marquinhos, who during the incident said “We will not play while this referee (Coltescu) is still here.”

Webo, Başakşehir’s assistant coach, also intervened to thank all his teammates and PSG players, as well as the president of Başakşehir and the coach, as well as Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdoğan, for the support shown these days as a result of the racist incident carried out by the referees, adding in this regard that the behaviour of the fourth referee had exceeded all the limits of what is tolerable.