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PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir walk off as fourth official is accused of racism

France Soccer Champions League
(Image credit: Francois Mori)

Players from Paris St Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir walked off the pitch during Tuesday night’s Champions League clash after the fourth official was accused of racism.

The Group H match in Paris was halted after 13 minutes, with the players walking off 10 minutes later, before UEFA finally confirmed it would be completed on Wednesday with new match officials. The governing body said it had launched an investigation.

PSG’s players followed their opponents off the field in the wake of a red card being shown to one of Basaksehir’s staff, assistant manager Pierre Webo, with video footage showing the Cameroonian accusing the fourth official of using racist language.

Further footage of the incident showed Basaksehir striker Demba Ba remonstrating with the fourth official, Romanian Sebastian Coltescu, as players gathered on the touchline.

The former Chelsea forward asked the official: “Why, when you mention a black guy, do you have to say this black guy?”

UEFA said in a statement: “Following an incident at tonight’s UEFA Champions League match between Paris St Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir, UEFA has – after discussion with both clubs – decided on an exceptional basis to have the remaining minutes of the match played tomorrow with a new team of match officials.

“A thorough investigation on the incident that took place will be opened immediately.”

The match will resume at 1755GMT.

UEFA had initially said the game would continue with a replacement fourth official, but it did not do so.

Basaksehir, who had earlier posted a message on their Twitter account which read: “NO TO RACISM #Respect”, announced their players would not be reappearing to complete the match.

“Our players has taken a decision NOT TO go back on the pitch after our assistant coach, Pierre Webo has been exposed to racist behaviour by the 4th Official,” Basaksehir said on Twitter.

PSG said in a statement that “all forms of racism go against the values held by Paris St Germain and the club’s chairman, staff and players”.

It added: “For more than 15 years Paris St Germain has led the fight against discrimination and continues to work to eradicate it in all forms. The capital club is today one of the most committed sports clubs striving to end all forms of violence and discrimination.”

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the alleged racist remarks and urged UEFA “to take the necessary measures”.

Erdogan said on Twitter: “I strongly condemn the racist remarks made against Pierre Webo, member of the technical staff of Basaksehir, and I am convinced that UEFA will take the necessary measures.”