PARIS (REUTERS) – Istanbul Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk praised the players’ unity in their response to an alleged racist incident as they walked off the pitch in their Champions League game against Paris St Germain on Tuesday.
Both teams left the pitch after the Turkish side accused a match official of racism.
The incident was sparked when Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo was shown a red card for protesting against a refereeing decision and the Turkish side alleged that Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu used a racist term towards Cameroonian Webo.
“He told him something that was unacceptable,” Buruk told a news conference after his team lost 5-1 to PSG in their final Group H game, which restarted on Wednesday (Dec 9) after the players and onfield referees took a knee before the kickoff.
“The main referee (Ovidiu Hategan) should have dealt with the situation but he didn’t and we had to show that we stood with Webo,” said Buruk.
“Our players, notably Demba Ba, but also (PSG players) all united and said that if that referee was to continue the game we would not play and we walked back to the dressing-room.
“The decision was made by the players. Some wanted to go back to the pitch but we stuck together as a team and it was eventually a team decision (not to return).”
Buruk said they were helped by Uefa’s decision to suspend the game and restart it on Wednesday.
“They did something good here, they helped us and it was something good,” Buruk said.
“We showed the entire world that we are united.”
Buruk added that it was Coltescu who should have felt bad after the incident.
“Webo was sad but it was not Webo who should have felt bad,” he said.
“It should be the person who said those words.
“We showed that we were all together. In my country there are a lot of different ethnicities and we have to be able to live together in a community.”