Update: Romanian referee accused of using racist language during Champions League match
Romanian referee Sebastian Coltescu was accused of having made a racist remark during the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday evening, December 8.
The match was suspended after about 16 minutes due to racist remarks from Coltescu, the Romanian fourth official, who allegedly referred to the assistant coach of the Turkish team, Pierre Webo, using the words "the black one," local Digi24 reported. He reportedly used this racial term when he told referee Ovidiu Hategan that Webo should be reprimanded for his behavior on the sidelines.
"Go and give it (the red card) to the black one, this is not possible (tolerable), go and identify him, go verify, the black one over there," Coltescu allegedly said, in Romanian, about Webo, according to Apnews.com.
Webo reacted, asking Coltescu why he said "negro," while Basaksehir substitute Demba Ba demanded that the Romanian fourth official explain himself.
UEFA said that it would conduct "a thorough investigation" into this incident and that the remaining minutes of the match would be played on Wednesday, with a new team of match officials.
"Racism, and discrimination in all its forms, has no place within football," UEFA wrote on Twitter.
UEFA is aware of an incident during tonight’s Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir and will be conducting a thorough investigation.— UEFA (@UEFA) December 8, 2020
Racism, and discrimination in all its forms, has no place within football.
Turkish officials also reacted to this scandal, condemning such racist behavior. Among them, president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said on Twitter: "I strongly condemn the racist remarks made against Pierre Webo, one of the technical team of Basaksehir, and I believe that UEFA will take the necessary steps. We are unconditionally against racism and discrimination in sports and all areas of life."
Temsilcimiz Başakşehir’in teknik ekibinden Pierre Webo'ya karşı sarf edilen ırkçı sözleri şiddetle kınıyor, UEFA tarafından gereken adımların atılacağına inanıyorum.— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) December 8, 2020
Sporda ve hayatın tüm alanlarında ırkçılığa ve ayrımcılığa kayıtsız şartsız karşıyız. #Notoracism
Meanwhile, the Romanian Football Federation said that it took note of what happened during the match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League, and would wait for the UEFA report, Stirileprotv.ro reported.
Romania's Foreign Affairs Ministry and Sports Ministry reacted by saying that racism can't be tolerated.
Sebastian Coltescu apologized in a Twitter message: "Sorry for the misunderstanding. My intention was never racism. In such an environment, people sometimes cannot express their feelings correctly and can be misunderstood. I apologize on behalf of the UEFA champions league. I hope you understand."
Sorry for the misunderstanding. My intention was never racism. In such an environment, people sometimes cannot express their feelings correctly and can be misunderstood. I apologize on behalf of the uefa champions league. I hope you understand. @UEFA #notoracism #uefa pic.twitter.com/90aiDSi2aU— Sebastian Coltescu (@sebaColtescu) December 8, 2020
The Alliance for Romanians Unity (AUR), a nationalist party that just currently in the spotlight due to its surprise score in the parliamentary elections, jumped to defend Coltescu. "We support fairness on the sports field, not the intolerance generated by political correctness. Today it is Coltescu, tomorrow it can be any of us. Yes, racism is unacceptable, but the situation that generated an unprecedented wave of hatred against a Romanian referee does not fall into this type of behavior. We are in solidarity with Sebastian Coltescu, the victim of an aggressive denigration campaign at the national and international level," said AUR co-president George Simion.
(Photo source: Cornelius20/Dreamstime.com)