Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir players all took the knee in a powerful pre-match gesture after the race storm which has left fourth official Sebastian Coltescu facing a minimum 10-game ban.
Both sets of players donned ‘No To Racism’ warm-up t-shirts before forming a ring around the centre circle with the match officials ahead of kick off as the two sides returned on Wednesday to finish their Group H tie 24 hours after it was suspended in the 14th minute.
The game – a 5-1 win which secured top spot for PSG – was played out against the backdrop of ‘No To Racism’ banners and another message in support of Basaksehir’s coach Pierre Webo as the French and Turkish champions produced a united front to underline their anti-racism stance at the Parc de Princes.
Pierre Webo (right), Basaksehir’s assistant manager who was allegedly racially abused on Tuesday night, was back as the game against PSG concluded
Both teams came together in around the centre circle to take the knee as the Champions League theme played out
Both sets of players take the knee at Parc des Princes before the re-arranged game started
Like Tuesday night’s refusal to play, the players came together to protest racism in football
PSG fans had placed a banner in the stands at the empty stadium that praised their players
Kylian Mbappe (L) and Neymar (R) wear ‘No To Racism’ t-shirts as they warm up for the game
In scenes that many in the game felt had been coming, the two teams walked off the pitch on Tuesday night after Romanian Coltescu was accused of using racist language to point out Basaksehir assistant coach Webo before he was sent off.
Former Chelsea striker Demba Ba challenged the official, saying: ‘You never say: “This white guy.” Why, when you mention a black guy, do you have to say “this black guy?”.’
In a defiant stand which emphasised footballers have had enough of being expected to continue playing in the face of racisms, both teams refused to return to the pitch, PSG’s players backing Basaksehir’s in a show of solidarity.
Sportsmail understands that resuming the match after swapping the assistant Video Assistant Referee (VAR), who was based in a truck outside the stadium, with the fourth official, was initially proposed.
However Basaksehir rejected that suggestion. And with no time to find a new fourth official and Assistant Video Assistant Referee (AVAR) in order to complete the game on Tuesday it was instead concluded on Wednesday night.
Dutch referee Danny Makkelie led an entirely new team of officials to oversee the game’s conclusion.
Play got back underway with the score at 0-0 during the first half of the European encounter
Hat-trick hero Neymar gave the French giants the lead with a superb individual goal
Kylian Mbappe also netted a brace as PSG eventually ran out 5-1 winners on home soil
UEFA immediately launched an investigation into the incident, which could also lead to European football’s governing body reviewing their education of officials.
On Wednesday they also confirmed that an ethics and disciplinary inspector had been appointed to lead the probe while Webo’s red card was frozen.
The inspector is expected to present their findings, which will include reports from match delegates, referee of the first game and witnesses, to UEFA’s control, ethics and disciplinary body, who will rule on the case, in a week to 10 days.
Match officials are subject to UEFA’s disciplinary powers and if found guilty Coltescu could be banned for at least 10 games, a specified period of time or any other sanction deemed appropriate.
UEFA have been slammed for being far too soft on offenders in racism cases in the past.
In a bid to increase their diversity and, subsequently, understanding of the gravity of such incidents they belatedly added PFA chief Bobby Barnes and former German international Celia Sasic to their control, ethics and disciplinary body earlier this year.
Webo (right), Basaksehir’s assistant manager, was livid when he was allegedly identified as ‘the black one over there’ by the fourth official
The fourth official Sebastian Coltescu (above) was accused of using the word ‘negru’ – Romanian for ‘black’ – to identify Webo
Players from PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir gather around fourth official Sebastian Coltescu, whose words were picked up by microphones in the empty Parc des Princes
Ominously for Coltescu, last month the body took a hardline stance with a Qarabag official, issuing a lifetime ban they asked FIFA to upgrade to a worldwide suspension for social media posts which included racist language.
Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari believes Coltescu may struggle to officiate again if the case against him is proven.
Bhandari said: ‘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.’
In a conversation with relatives, which emerged on Wednesday morning in Romanian media, Coltescu defended his character.
‘I just try to be good,’ he said, according to Romanian outlet ProSport. ‘I’m not going to read any news sites these next few days. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not racist! At least that’s what I hope.’
Basaksehir substitute Demba Ba remonstrates with the referee Ovidiu Hategan during the interruption on Tuesday night, watched by PSG players Neymar and Kylian Mbappe who both supported the walk-off protest
A furious Webo is led away from the touchline by a member of Basaksehir’s backroom staff
Such was the outrage at the incident, Coltescu apparently had his Instagram account hacked in the aftermath.
His profile picture was replaced by an image of Webo, whom Coltescu allegedly identified by using the word ‘negru’, the Romanian word for black.
The hackers, who appeared to be Turkish, also changed the Romanian referee’s biography to include a ‘No to Racism’ hashtag.
Former Liverpool star John Barnes came out in defence of Coltescu, insisting to his followers that he believed the official did nothing wrong, and was only fulfilling his duties of passing information on to the referee.
The Instagram account of Coltescu, accused of racially abusing Istanbul Basaksehir assistant coach Webo, has apparently been hacked with Webo’s face made the profile picture
John Barnes suggested on Twitter the official was merely pointing out which coach he meant
When told by one user on Twitter that there are many ways to identify somebody without referring to their race, Barnes snapped back: ‘If they are the ONLY white person in a room or group… THEY ARE… how else would YOU describe the ONLY white person or BLACK person in a group?’
Furthering his point, Barnes went on to outline his belief that the official would have acted likewise had the coach he was trying to point out been white.
Barnes added: ‘[Demba] Ba said if he was white u wouldnt say white guy… but if there were 5 black coaches and 1 white coach .. he would have said “the white one”… what else could or should he say?’