xeniasports – London
The fourth official at the center of the racism controversy in Tuesday’s aborted Champions League clash between Paris St Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir will struggle to work again if allegations made against him are upheld.
UEFA has launched an investigation into the Group H encounter which was abandoned after 13 minutes when both sets of players walked off the pitch in the wake of a red card being shown to Basaksehir’s assistant manager Pierre Webo.
Subsequent video footage showed the Cameroonian accusing the fourth official, Romanian Sebastian Coltescu, of using racist language, with Basaksehir striker Demba Ba also remonstrating with the official.
Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari said he hopes UEFA will impose “appropriate sanctions” if the official is found guilty – and that any proof of guilt could effectively constitute a life ban.
Bhandari told Sky Sports News: “I’m not sure whether it would be possible – even if they didn’t get a life ban – I’m not sure how easy it would be for that person to officiate again, and whether the players would accept that.
“We have to let the process take its course and hopefully they (UEFA) will do a thorough investigation and there will be appropriate sanctions.”
UEFA confirmed the match will resume at 1755GMT on Wednesday, with a new team of officials, led by Holland’s Danny Makkelie. The fourth official replacing Coltescu will be Bartosch Frankowsky of Poland.
In footage of the incident, former Chelsea striker Ba is seen asking 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 (Tuesday night’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 (on Wednesday) with a new team of match officials.
“A thorough investigation on the incident that took place will be opened immediately.”
UEFA had initially said the game would continue with a replacement fourth official, but it did not.
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 have taken a decision NOT TO go back on the pitch after our assistant coach, Pierre Webo, was exposed to racist behaviour by the fourth 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”.
The club 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.”