UEFA have suspended a Romanian referee for the rest of the season due to accusations of racism during a Champions League game between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Başakşehir in December.
According to the European football’s governing body, the referee Sebastian Colțescu was banned for ‘inappropriate behavior’ for using the Romanian word for black ‘negru’ to identify assistant coach Pierre Webo who played the role of the fourth official during the game.
Webo accused Colțescu of using racist language towards him and this sparked a player walk-off, forcing the suspension of the game until its resumption the following day.
The action resulted in an investigation by UEFA which did not cover racism but focused on the lesser charge of inappropriate behavior.
Subsequently, the referee and assistant referee Octavian Sovre who was reprimanded but not suspended were cleared of racism.
This was the case despite Webo’s claim that Coltescu disrespected him by addressing him as ‘the black one’.
Racism is not covered under the article that was used to charge the officials with UEFA noting that the Romanian has been banned for using the Romanian word for black to identify.
They faced proceedings “for a potential violation of Article 11 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations”, which relates to “general principles of conduct” including action that is “insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent conduct”.
It must be noted that Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations concerns racism and other discriminatory conduct.
According to a statement by UEFA, Coltescu had been ordered to “attend an educational programme before 30 June 2021”.
Meanwhile, PSG eventually won the game 5:1 the next day after its resumption with a new team of officials from The Netherlands.
Before the game kicked off for the second time, the players knelt around the center circle to demonstrate their support for the anti-racism movement as others also raised their fists.