Paris Saint-Germain's last training session taking on Başakşehir

John Barnes launches staunch defence of official at centre of Istanbul Basaksehir racism row

Istanbul and PSG players walked off the pitch in protest against alleged comments made by fourth official Sebastian Coltescu

Alex Pattle
Wednesday 09 December 2020 15:48

John Barnes has defended the match official at the centre of a racism row following Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris Saint-Germain’s decision to abandon their Champions League match on Tuesday evening.

Both sides walked off during the first half of the group-stage game in Paris after fourth official Sebastian Coltescu allegedly made a racist remark about a member of the Turkish club’s coaching staff.

The Romanian was identifying Basaksehir assistant Pierre Webo, the former Cameroon striker, to the referee when the alleged comment was made. Coltescu was speaking Romanian, with TV footage showing him saying: “The black one over there. Go and check who he is. The black one over there, it’s not possible to act like that,” after Webo had vehemently protested against a refereeing decision.

Webo reacted angrily, shouting at Coltescu: “Why did you say negro?”

READ MORE: Why Istanbul and PSG players were right to walk off

The game stopped as an argument broke out on the touchline at the Parc des Princes. Basaksehir’s substitute forward Demba Ba was heard saying to Coltescu: “You never this say ‘this white guy’, you say ‘this guy’, so why when you mention… listen to me… so why when you mention a black guy [do] you have to say ‘this black guy’?”

But Liverpool great Barnes insists he has no problem with Coltescu’s choice of words.

The 57-year-old posted a length series of tweets on Wednesday, interacting with a number of Twitter users – some of whom agreed with his stance and others who did not.

“If you dont know their name and 6/7 of them are standing together in a group and you are 15 ft away and trying to tell someone which one it is and ITS THE ONLY BLACK ONE OF THE GROUP... how do you describe him?” Barnes asked.

“Give me another way to identify him please ? Youve got 10 seconds as the 4th official did!.... ready.... go!

“He doesnt know his name... anything else he could have said?

“‘Call us black when we want’.. ‘dont call us black’ ‘when you.. sorry we.. want’ no wonder some white people are laughing at us and not taking us seriously when they have us like puppets on a string...”

The Group H match between PSG and Istanbul will resume at 5.55pm GMT on Wednesday and will pick up from the 14th minute, which was when the incident occurred.

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