The action of the fourth referee in PSG/Istanbul match that warranted boycott is not racist – John Barnes


In line with the report of The Sun news, John Barnes has defended the fourth official who allegedly referred to Istanbul Basaksehir's assistant coach as 'the black one', insisting it was NOT racist.

Romanian official Sebastian Coltescu faces a TEN-GAME ban after sparking a race row for his description of Istanbul No2 Pierre Webo that saw Tuesday night's Champions League game in Paris abandoned.

Cameroonian Webo was initially shown a red card by ref Ovidiu Hategan after Colescu singled him out for speaking out of turn from the bench.

Footage appeared to show the fourth official 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."

Player protests were led by Istanbul sub and former Chelsea star Demba Ba and both teams walked off the field in solidarity with the abandoned game set to resume today at 5.55pm from the 14th minute.

Liverpool and England legend Barnes appeared to question whether Colescu's actions were racist in a series of tweets.

Alongside images of the Istanbul coaching staff, Barnes wrote: "Here is the coaching staff at istanbul... 1 of them is going to be sent off and the ref asks the 4th official which one should he send off...

"Can anyone tell me how he should identify him as he doesnt know their names, and they arent wearing numbers, other than THE BLACK ONE?"

The former England international added: "Its NOT racist to describe the offender as the black one!

"We are telling people to call us black.. he doesnt know his name there are 6/7 coaches standing together all turkish .. 1 is to be sent off , the ref says which one THE BLACK ONE what else can he say to let the ref know?

"Why cant you describe a black man as being a black man?"

One fan told Barnes the fourth official should have asked for a name rather than using skin colour as a descriptor, but he disagreed.

Barnes said: "The ref doesnt know who to ask, the 4th official has to tell the ref which one to approach so he tells him to approach “the black one” .. then the ref may ask his name and send him off.. the 4th officials job is JUST to identify him.. not ask his name."

Striker Ba was caught on camera remonstrating with Coltescu - who is believed to have used the Romanian word 'negru' meaning black.

He was filmed saying: "You never say 'this white guy', you say 'this guy', so why when you're mentioning him… listen to me… why when you mention a black guy, why do you say 'this black guy'."

Barnes appeared to see it differently and explained: "Ba said if he was white u wouldn’t say white guy... but if there were 5 black coaches and 1 white coach .. he would have said “the white one”... what else could or should he say?

"If they are the ONLY white person in a room or group... THEY ARE... how else would YOU describe the ONLY white person or BLACK person in a group?

"And even if he said Negro... if thats the romanian word for black... whats wrong with that?"

Coltescu - who had his Instagram hacked and profile image changed to a picture of Webo with #notoracism added to his bio - apologised last night.

He said: "Sorry for the misunderstanding. My intention was never racism.

"In such an environment, people sometimes cannot express their feelings correctly and can be misunderstood. I apologise on behalf of the UEFA Champions League. I hope you understand."

UEFA confirmed the anti-racism rulebook applies to officials and an investigation underway.

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