PSG and Basaksehir walkout deepens football racism row

Afp, Paris

10 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The unprecedented walkout of Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir players over an alleged racist comment by a Champions League official sparked a new row about racism in football on Wednesday.

Both teams left the pitch on Tuesday after a touchline argument erupted when the Romanian fourth official, Sebastian Coltescu, appeared to describe Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo, a former Cameroon international player, as "black", or "negru" in Romanian.

The group game in Paris, which was goalless at the time, was suspended and will resume on Wednesday where it left off, in the 14th minute, with a different set of officials.

PSG forward Kylian Mbappe tweeted "Say no to racism", while teammate Neymar posted "Black Lives Matter". Both players were prominent in the heated discussions on the touchline. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is understood to be close to Basaksehir's owners, tweeted that he "strongly condemns the racist remarks", while France's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu, who was born in Romania, praised the players' "historic decision".

Basaksehir midfielder Giuliano told Brazilian media: "(The comment) was very clear, many people heard, including our coach. It was disgraceful.

"As a team and a group, we decided to protest because that is unacceptable. Racism has to end."