Players, officials take knee before PSG restart

Players and match officials took a knee and raised a fist before the resumption of Tuesday’s postponed Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir.

The match was postponed until Wednesday after both teams walked off the pitch and refused to return following accusations that the fourth official, Sebastian Coltescu, had used a racial term to identify assistant coach Pierre Webo, who is from Cameroon, before Webo was sent off at Parc des Princes by Romanian match referee Ovidiu Hategan.

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The four Romanian match officials were replaced by UEFA for the re-start.

When the teams came out of the tunnel on Wednesday, players and the new group of officials gathered around the centre circle, knelt and raised a fist for a few moments before taking their positions and resuming the game in the 13th minute. The players also wore “No to racism” T-shirts during the warm-up.

Making up the revamped officiating crew were referee Danny Makkelie of the Netherlands, along with fellow Dutchman Mario Diks and Poland’s Marcin Boniek and Bartosch Frankowsky.

Taking a knee was popularised by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and gained steam as an anti-racism protest following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis in May.

Two banners carrying anti-racism messages were placed in the Auteuil tribune of the Parc des Princes stadium. The first one read “Support to Mr Webo… Proud of the players… Against racism,” with the second one saying “Paris united against racism.”

UEFA had two banners of their own with both clubs’ logos, reading “No to racism,” one in French and the other in English.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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