UEFA has suspended Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu until the end of the season over his involvement in the sending off of Istanbul Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo, which sparked a player walk-off in the Champions League.
The match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir in December was halted after 13 minutes following an argument on the touchline over a red card shown to Webo. It resumed the following day after the four officials were replaced.
Webo accused the fourth official of referring to him using the word “negru”, which is the Romanian word for ‘black’.
What did UEFA decide?
UEFA said in a statement that Coltescu had been suspended for “inappropriate behaviour during a UEFA match for which he was appointed” and had been ordered to “attend an educational programme before 30 June 2021.”
Assistant referee Octavian Sovre was also reprimanded for his role on the night and ordered to attend an educational programme before June 30.
The pair were found guilty of violating Article 11(1) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, which deals with general principles of conduct and focuses on breaches such as those which bring the game into disrepute.
UEFA said they also violated Article 6(1) of the General Terms and Conditions for Referees officiating at UEFA matches which ask officials to “behave in a professional and appropriate manner” during and after the game.
The Athletic revealed in February that UEFA’s disciplinary case was not on the grounds of racist behaviour.
What happened between the coach and the officials?
In the opening 14 minutes of the Champions League game, there was a touchline incident that saw assistant coach Webo shout towards referee Ovidiu Hategan.
The referee then asked the fourth official who shouted, and his colleague, according to a senior Baseksehir source, said “the n***o one”.
Television footage showed Coltescu in a conversation with the other Romanian match officials saying “negru”, the Romanian word for black, to identify Webo.
Webo was shown a red card as he protested towards the referee.
What was the reaction?
Basaksehir striker Demba Ba spoke to officials, saying: “You never say ‘this white guy’, you say ‘this guy’ so why (is it) when you mention a black guy you have to say ‘this black guy’.”
The PSG players joined the players from Basaksehir in protesting against the officials.
Following that conversation, the Basaksehir players walked down the tunnel at the Parc des Princes and were joined by those representing PSG. The visitors felt supported by Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Webo has since said that the incident was so stressful he has been prescribed sleeping pills by his doctor.