Referee accused of racist act apologizes to footballer

Referee accused of racist act apologizes to footballer

Adil Demirçubuk - ISTANBUL
Referee accused of racist act apologizes to footballer

Romanian referee Sebastian Coltescu has apologized over a racial term he used when identifying a Black assistant coach of Istanbul team Başakşehir in a game last week over a phone call with Senagelese striker Demba Ba.

“The referee, Sebastian Coltescu, called and said that he is not a racist man. He apologized for what happened,” said Ba, who had a conflict with the referee during the game.

Amid the Champions League game between Başakşehir and Paris Saint-Germain on Dec. 8, Coltescu allegedly called the Cameroonian assisting coach, Pierre Webo, a “negro.” As Webo reacted, both teams’ players walked off the pitch together to protest the referee. The game was called off and played the day after.

According to Romanian press, a football player mediated this phone conversation.

“Someone I could not say no to called me and told me that the referee wanted to talk to me. I said, O.K., then Coltescu called me,” said Ba about the background of the conversation.

“He said he was sorry for what has happened and stressed that he is not a racist man,” added the player, noting that “the case is closed for him.”

The mediator, Ousmane N’Doye, a retired player, also talked to the Romanian press about the conversation.

“Demba Ba is from Senegal like me. I made them talk. They both said, ‘He is a good man’ about each other. Ba did not accuse the referee of racism,” said N’Doye after the phone talk.

On Dec. 9, before leaving the pitch, Ba was heard shouting “You never say ‘That white man.’ You say, ‘That man.’ But when he is black, why do you call him ‘That black man’?” to the referee.

The incident was discussed on social media and footage of Ba calling out the racial slur was shared widely.