Referee banned for season over word to describe Black coach

A Romanian soccer referee was suspended for the season after making “inappropriate” comments about a black coach at a Champions League game, UEFA ruled on Tuesday (AEDT).

Paris Saint-Germain and İstanbul Başakşehir refused to continue playing on December 8 because players believed fourth official Sebastian Coltescu racially insulted the Turkish club’s assistant coach, Pierre Webo.

A UEFA investigation led to Coltescu facing the lesser charge of “inappropriate behaviour” for using the Romanian word for black, “negru,” to identify Webo.

Coltescu is banned “from carrying out any referee’s function until the end of the 2020/21 season,” UEFA said its disciplinary committee decided. He must also attend a UEFA-approved educational course.

“In the international context, correct use of language is essential to avoid situations such as those that occurred in the above-mentioned match,” UEFA said.

The ban will apply to domestic games in Romania because Coltescu is no longer on the FIFA-managed list of officials approved for international games.

Romania’s soccer federation decided before the game in Paris not to propose Coltescu for 2021, and the PSG-Başakşehir tie was his last on international duty.

The game was completed 24 hours later with a different set of match officials brought in from the Netherlands.

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