2020 has seen lots of postponements and cancellations over COVID-19 and some postponements in protest of racist actions elsewhere, but Tuesday saw the unusual step of a game postponed mid-play thanks to allegations of a racial slur from an official. That happened in the Paris Saint-Germain-İstanbul Başakşehir UEFA Champions League group stage match Tuesday, when players from both teams walked off the pitch after Başakşehir players said fourth official Sebastian Coltescu used racist language towards Başakşehir assistant coach Pierre Webo (who is from Cameroon). Here’s footage of that, with Webo being sent off (seen in the screencap above) and protesting, Başakşehir striker Demba Ba protesting the language used by Coltescu, and both teams eventually leaving the field:
Pode-se ouvir as atitudes racistas do quarto árbitro para com Pierre Webo, da equipa técnica do Basaksehir. Inaceitável e repugnante.
— 4 Linhas ⚽️ (@LinhasQuatro) December 8, 2020
— Gift Makoti 2.0 (@iamGiftedStill) December 8, 2020
As per Rob Harris of The Associated Press, the match will now finish Wednesday with a new team of officials:
UEFA on racism at PSG-Basaksehir:
"A thorough investigation on the incident that took place will be opened immediately."
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) December 8, 2020
For the record, 18:55 Central European Time is 12:55 p.m. Eastern. It’s unclear as of now if English-language coverage of this match will resume on CBS All Access or CBS Sports Network. Spanish-language coverage of the Champions League is on Univision networks Unimas, TUDN and Galavision (plus Univision itself later in the tournament) as well as TUDN Xtra. As for how this was covered Tuesday, here’s a CBS segment on it featuring Roberto Martinez:
Roberto Martinez reflects on what happened during the PSG vs. Istanbul match. pic.twitter.com/XBd5dqYMWZ
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) December 8, 2020
This is quite the unusual occurrence, but it’s definitely interesting to see problematic language challenged right then and there. And it’s notable to see Başakşehir’s opponents support their decision to abandon the match. We’ll see what comes of the UEFA investigation on this.
[ESPN, screencap via @LinhasQuatro on Twitter]