John Barnes has defended the fourth official at the center of a racing storm after Paris Saint-Germain postponed the Champions League game against Istanbul Basaksehir.
The players accused Romanian official Sebastian Coltescu of racially abusing Basaksehir’s assistant manager Pierre Webo in the early stages of the game – using the word “Negru”, which means “black” in Romanian, to identify him to the referee .
The encounter with Group H was interrupted in the middle of the first half after the subsequent heated argument and caused both sides to decide together to leave the field.
Former Liverpool and England star Barnes, who is now an expert and prominent commentator on racism and discrimination in society, made it clear to his followers repeatedly that he believed the official did nothing wrong and was just his duty to pass on The referee fulfills information.
When Barnes learned from a user on Twitter that there are many ways to identify someone without referring to their race, he snapped back, “If he’s the ONLY white person in a room or group … YOU ARE … how else would YOU describe the ONLY white or BLACK person in a group? ‘
Barnes endorsed his point, explaining his belief that the officer would have acted too had the coach he was trying to point out had been white.
Barnes added: ‘[Demba] Ba said if he was white you wouldn’t say white … but if there were 5 black coaches and 1 white coach … he would have said “the whites” … what else could or should he say? “
Sebastian Coltescu (above) was accused of using the word “negru” – Romanian for “black” – to identify Istanbul Basaksehir coach Pierre Webo to the referee during a game in Paris
Football expert John Barnes defended the Champions League official
Barnes suggested on Twitter when the officer merely pointed out which coach he was referring to
Barnes was repeatedly challenged on his defense by Coltescu, but each time gave reasons for his stance.
Barnes was told by another user that the officer should have simply asked for the name of the person he was talking about, but the football expert held onto his guns again.
Barnes said: ‘The referee doesn’t know who to ask, the 4th officer has to tell the referee who to contact so he should contact the’ black ‘. Then the referee can ask for his name and send him off. The official’s 4th job is ONLY to identify him. Not asking for his name. ‘
The incident started when the referee came by and identified Coltescu Webo by saying, “The black guy over there. Go check out who he is. That black guy over there, it’s not possible to do that. ‘Coltescu is believed to have said’ negru ‘, the Romanian word for black.
Barnes offered his view that if it was the correct wording, he saw no problem with the language used when spoken in Romanian.
He said, “And even if he said negro … if that’s the Romanian word for black … what’s wrong with that?”
Barnes has long played a central role in the fight against racism in English football, and there is an iconic image of him knocking a banana peel back from the pitch after it was thrown at him during a game at Everton in 1988.
Basaksehir’s assistant manager Webo (right) was furious when he was allegedly identified as “the black one over there” by the fourth official during the Paris Saint-Germain game
Basaksehir substitute Demba Ba demonstrates against referee Ovidiu Hategan, who was watched by PSG players Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, both of whom supported the protest
At the time of the Paris incident, an angry Webo heard the official’s remarks and immediately accused Coltescu of racism. He had to be held back by other coaches as he was shown a red card.
Ex-Chelsea striker Ba, a replacement for the Turkish team, stormed towards Coltescu to ask why he had used the word to identify Webo.
Cameras picked him up and said, ‘You never say “that white guy”, you say “that guy” so why when you mention him … listen to me … why when you mention a black guy why you say “that black one?”
Both groups of players left the field and returned to the dressing room to protest together
Within minutes of the incident, Basaksehir posted an image from UEFA’s No To Racism campaign
Basaksehir players on the team train back to their hotel. The game will now be concluded on Wednesday with a different group of officials
Coltescu is a top referee in Romania but is set to officiate in his final European campaign after being demoted by FIFA.
Last night he apologized and said, “Sorry for the misunderstanding. My intention was never racism.
“In such an environment, people sometimes cannot express their feelings properly and are misunderstood. I apologize on behalf of the UEFA Champions League. I hope you understand.’
A later statement by UEFA said: “Following an incident during today’s UEFA Champions League game between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir, UEFA decided after talks with both clubs to play the remaining minutes of the game tomorrow with a new one Team of match officers.
‘Kick-off has been set at 18:55 CET. A thorough investigation of the incident will be initiated immediately. ‘
The image of Barnes kicking a banana peel back from the pitch after it was thrown at him during a game at Everton in 1988 has become an icon in the fight against racism in football
“Everyone who knows me knows that I’m not a racist!”: The fourth official at the center of the racism allegations, in which PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir left the square, speaks about an incident – when he is facing a TEN-MATCH ban
The fourth official, accused of using racist language against Istanbul Basaksehir’s assistant coach, resulting in a player change, has insisted that “everyone who knows me knows that I am not racist”.
Romanian Sebastian Coltescu, the fourth official in question, is said to have said “ala negru” – translated into English as “the black one” – when asked by referee Ovidiu Hategan which coach would be dismissed after an incident.
In a conversation with relatives that took place in the Romanian media on Wednesday morning, Coltescu defended his character.
“I’m just trying to be good,” he said, according to the Romanian outlet ProSport. “I won’t read any news pages for the next few days. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not racist! At least that’s what I hope. ‘
A UEFA investigation was opened following the postponement of the game at Parc des Princes as both groups of players refused to resume midway through the first half.
UEFA said: “In accordance with Article 31 (4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Code, an ethics and disciplinary inspector has been appointed today to conduct a disciplinary investigation into the incident.”
While there is little precedent for a civil servant to be handed a 10-game ban, UEFA said in a statement that “a thorough investigation will be launched immediately” and that Coltescu has the prospect of a 10-game ban if found guilty of using racist language on the line of contact.
Article 3 of the UEFA Disciplinary Rules mentions both match officers and players – which means that they can be penalized by the Board of Directors for violations.
Article 14 of the UEFA Code would be used to punish the officer if found guilty following the ongoing investigation.
That article states: “Any person within the meaning of Article 3 who offends the human dignity of any person or group of persons for any reason, including skin color, race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, will be permanently suspended for at least 10 games or a specified period of time or some other appropriate sanction. “
Coltescu’s Instagram account, accused of racially abusing Istanbul Basaksehir’s assistant coach Webo, was apparently hacked using Webo’s face to take the profile picture