The UEFA 4th official accused of using a racist language against the assistant coach of Instabul Basaksehir at the UEFA Champions League game on Tuesday in France, says he is not racist.
The 4TH official who has been identified as Sebastian Coltescu and likely to face a long ban, said: ‘anyone who knows me knows I’m not racist’.
According to reports, the 4TH official was reported to have said ‘ala negru’ — translating into English as ‘the black guy’ — when asked by referee Ovidiu Hategan which coach needed to be sent off following a touchline incident.
But in a conversation with relatives, which emerged on Wednesday morning in Romanian media, Coltescu has defended his character.
‘I just try to be good,’ he said, according to Romanian outlet ProSport. ‘I’m not going to read any news sites these next few days. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not racist! At least that’s what I hope.’
A UEFA investigation has been launched following the postponement of the match at the Parc des Princes as both sets of players refused to continue midway through the first half.
UEFA said: ‘In accordance with the Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed today to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding the incident.’
While there is little to no precedent of an official being handed a 10-match ban, UEFA said in a statement that ‘a thorough investigation will be opened immediately’ and that Coltescu does face the prospect of a minimum 10-game ban if found guilty of using racist language on the touchline.
Article 3 of UEFA’s disciplinary rules cites both match officials and players — which means they can be punished by the governing body for offences.
Article 14 of UEFA’s code would be used to exact punishment onto the official if he is deemed guilty following the ongoing investigation.
That article states: ‘Any person under the scope of Article 3 who insults the human dignity of a person or group of persons on whatever grounds, including skin colour, race, religion, ethnic origin, gender or sexual orientation, incurs a suspension lasting at least 10 matches or a specified period of time, or any other appropriate sanction.’
Coltescu’s alleged remark is said to have been used to refer to Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo.
Webo was shown a red card by referee Hategan before coaches and players from both sides had to be restrained from remonstrating with the fourth official.
As the referee came over, footage appeared to show Coltescu identifying Webo by 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’.
It is believed Coltescu said ‘negru’, the Romanian word for black.
A furious Webo heard this and immediately accused Coltescu of racism. He had to be restrained by other members of the coaching staff as he was shown a straight red card.
But according to French outlet RMC Sport, Webo’s red card has been suspended by UEFA and he can be on the touchline on Wednesday for the rearranged fixture should he wish to be.