Referee banned for season over word to describe Black coach

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NYON, Switzerland — 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 Monday.

Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir refused to continue playing on Dec. 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-Basaksehir 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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The Associated Press