Soccer ref quitting after Champions League racism accusation
Race row Romanian ref Sebastian Coltescu looks set to dodge a 10-game ban — by quitting football.
Disgraced Coltescu and the rest of his colleagues were replaced by officials from Holland and Poland when the abandoned match between PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir restarted for the remaining 76 minutes in the Parc des Princes.
The players from both sides, who had refused to play on after Coltescu’s touchline comments to Istanbul coach Pierre Webo, warmed up wearing “No to Racism” T-shirts.
They then gathered round the center-circle before the match recommenced with a free-kick for the Turkish champions.
UEFA, who announced “an ethics and disciplinary inspector” had been appointed to head the urgent investigation, were relieved to get the match completed without any other incidents.
But it seems that any sanction European chiefs might want to impose of Coltescu will be rendered moot as he had already announced Tuesday’s game was due to be his last before retiring.
UEFA rules confirm Coltescu would be liable to be hit with the same 10-match ban as a player for racism.
But the fourth official had already been removed from the FIFA referee’s list for future appointments as he had signalled his intention to quit after a final Champions League match.
Coltescu told Romanian reporters he had done nothing wrong, insisting: “I just try to be good.
“I’m not going to read any news these next few days. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not racist. At least, that’s what I hope.”
UEFA’s probe will be a matter of urgency.
But Euro chiefs have also been informed of reports in the Romanian media that Coltescu has previously attempted to take his own life after sustained criticism of his performances in domestic football and recognises it has a duty of care towards him.
Meanwhile, UEFA may have to investigate racism toward Coltescu from one of the Istanbul party after video surfaced of an unidentified member of the Basaksehir staff shouting: “In my country, Romanians are gypsies.”