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Istanbul Basaksehir boss calls for end to racism after Champions League incident

France Soccer Champions League
(Image credit: Francois Mori)

Istanbul Basaksehir manager Okan Buruk has called for all racism to be eliminated following the incident involving his assistant during their Champions League match against Paris St Germain.

The Group H fixture was halted on Tuesday night after 13 minutes, with both sets of players walking off the pitch 10 minutes later with the score at 0-0 after the fourth official, Romanian Sebastian Coltescu, was accused of using a racist term towards Basaksehir assistant manager Pierre Webo.

Webo, who had been sent off amid the incident, was allowed to take his place on the away bench as the game continued on Wednesday, with his red card suspended while UEFA investigates what happened.

The governing body has announced the appointment of an ethics and disciplinary inspector to look into the events and said it will impose “appropriate sanctions” if the official is found guilty.

A new set of officials were in charge for Wednesday’s game, with Dutchman Danny Makkelie appointed as referee.

Both sets of players and the officials, who all took a knee around the centre circle during the Champions League anthem, wore “no to racism” t-shirts in the warm-up, while anti-racism banners were placed in the stands around the stadium.

Speaking in his press conference after the rescheduled match in Paris, which hosts PSG won 5-1 to confirm their qualification for the knock-out stages as group winners, Buruk said Webo was saddened by the incident and issued a rallying cry for all hurtful words to cease.

“Webo was really, really sad,” said the Basaksehir boss. “We supported him, but it was not him who must have felt bad. The culprit is the person who said these words. He’s the one who must be feeling bad.

“We showed that we were all together with Webo. We must stop this, live together. Humanity is the most important thing.”

Buruk also accused the Romanian referee, Ovidiu Hategan, of failing to properly manage the situation after the alleged comments made by compatriot Coltescu.

“The fourth official used an unacceptable word. The referee should have dealt with the situation properly but didn’t. We had to show that we were with Webo,” said Buruk

“The players decided to stop. Some of them didn’t want to come back out. We are a team and we had to stick together.”

On the pitch, the match restarted in the 13th minute on Wednesday with a free-kick to Basaksehir just inside their own half.

PSG, assured of qualification on Tuesday night after Manchester United’s defeat to RB Leipzig in Germany, reached the knock-out stages with a comprehensive victory.

Neymar scored a hat-trick and Kylian Mbappe netted twice, with Mehmet Topal getting a consolation for the Turkish champions.

PSG boss Thomas Tuchel was pleased to win the match and expressed pride in his players for their actions on Tuesday.

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“They made a strong decision, they showed solidarity with the opponent,” said the German. “They had a lot of courage. In the locker room, it was clear that they wanted to show that reaction.

“They are adults, they know what they are doing. I didn’t understand the whole situation, I didn’t hear the words on the pitch, but in the dressing room everything was very clear to us. It was necessary that we show this solidarity.

“It was a bit weird, for sure. After the situation yesterday it was important to react like that, the guys were brilliant on and off the ball. It was a really great performance and we managed to win the group.

“It wasn’t easy at all and everyone knows that there was a tough period after the third game in the group.”