Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League game with Istanbul Basaksehir was suspended on Tuesday as both sets of players walked off amid allegations of racism by the fourth official, in an unprecedented incident in European football’s elite club competition.
The row erupted after Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo, the former Cameroon international, was shown a red card during a fierce row on the touchline with staff from the Turkish club accusing the fourth official of using a racist term.
Istanbul players walked off the pitch in protest, with PSG players following.
The incident happened just 14 minutes into the Group H tie, which was still goalless.
In a statement late on Tuesday Uefa promised to open a “thorough investigation” into the incidents and confirmed the match would restart at 1755 GMT on Wednesday from where it stopped.
European football’s governing body said it had “decided on an exceptional basis to have the remaining minutes of the match played (Wednesday) with a new team of match officials.”
Television microphones picked up a furious Webo repeatedly asking why a racist term had been used to describe him.
The referee, Ovidiu Hategan, his two assistants and the fourth official, Sebastian Coltescu, were all from Romania.
In the exchange in question, heard on television and translated by an AFP journalist, Coltescu said: “The black one over there. This is not possible. Go and identify him. That guy, the black one.”
Basaksehir’s Senegal international striker Demba Ba, among the substitutes for the away side, could be clearly heard on television remonstrating with the official, saying in English: “When you mention a white guy, you never say ‘this white guy’, you just say ‘this guy’, so why when you mention a black guy do you say ‘this black guy?'”
Basaksehir responded to the incidents by tweeting “NO TO RACISM #Respect”, along with a photo of Uefa’s anti-racism logo. The message was retweeted by PSG.
Despite the interruption of the match, being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, PSG qualified for the last 16 from Group H after RB Leipzig beat Manchester United 3-2 in Germany.