Fourth official faces 10-match ban if found guilty of racism in PSG game

Uefa appoints inspector to conduct ‘thorough’ investigation; PSG win resumed tie 5-1

Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu (second from left) looks on next to Istanbul Basaksehir’s French forward Demba Ba and Paris Saint-Germain Brazilian forward Neymar during the Champions League Group H match at the Parc des Princes. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu (second from left) looks on next to Istanbul Basaksehir’s French forward Demba Ba and Paris Saint-Germain Brazilian forward Neymar during the Champions League Group H match at the Parc des Princes. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

 

The fourth official accused of racist behaviour that caused a Champions League match to be abandoned faces a minimum 10-match ban if found guilty of breaching Uefa rules.

The European governing body confirmed on Wednesday that an ethics and disciplinary inspector had been appointed to conduct an investigation into an incident involving Constantin Coltescu that led players from Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris St-Germain to leave the pitch and not return on Tuesday night.

Under Article 14 of Uefa’s disciplinary regulations, which apply to match officials as well as to players, any individual who “insults the human dignity of a person . . . on whatever grounds, including skin colour, race, religion, ethnic origin, gender or sexual orientation”, will be subject to a ban of at least 10 matches.

The incident is said to have occurred after Coltescu recommended the sending-off of Istanbul’s assistant manager Pierre Webo to the referee, Ovidiu Hategan, a fellow Romanian, in the 14th minute. Coltescu is alleged to have pointed out Webo to Hategan by saying: “The black one over there. Go and check who he is. The black one over there, it’s not possible to act like that.”

The substitute Demba Ba confronted Coltescu and asked why he described Webo with reference to his skin colour. “You never say ‘this white guy’, you say ‘this guy’,” Ba was heard to say. “So why when you mention a black guy do you have to say ‘this black guy?’”

The players left the pitch shortly afterwards and did not return, thought to be the first example of such a protest in Europe. It comes a year after Uefa devised three-step protocols for enabling players to respond to racist abuse, with the third step being a walk out. Ironically, this protocol was to be led by referees.

The match resumed on Wednesday evening at the Parc des Princes, with a new set of officials. Neymar’s hat-trick helped secure a 5-1 win for the home side to send them through as group winners.

Webo’s red card has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

José Mourinho said: “That game will become quite iconic; a Champions League game to stop after 15 minutes for a very sad reason, hopefully it will never happen again.”

The president of the Romanian football federation, Razvan Burleanu, told the Romanian sports news website ProSport: “If it is proved that we are talking about racism, there will be no understanding on my part. However, we must wait for all the actual details of this incident before drawing conclusions. The intention doesn’t appear to have been to insult, I think that is obvious. The Uefa report will clarify the incident and the measure of guilt for those involved.”

– Guardian

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