Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir’s players joined together with the match officials to take the knee before their Champions League clash resumed at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.
The game was called to a dramatic halt last night after the fourth official, Sebastian Coltescu, was heard describing Istanbul assistant coach Pierre Webo as ‘the black one’.
Both sets of players were incensed, with former Chelsea striker Demba Ba remonstrating with the official and leading his teammates off the pitch and down the tunnel, with PSG’s players joining them in an act of solidarity.
Uefa had hoped to get the match back underway on Tuesday, suggesting that Coltescu swapped places with the VAR assistant referee, but he still would have been involved in the game and Istanbul’s players felt that was unacceptable.
The match was rescheduled for 17.55 GMT on Wednesday with a new officiating team drafted in, while Webo was allowed to return to the sidelines despite having been sent off.
It was the former Cameroon international’s dismissal which prompted the incident, with Webo having reacted angrily to a foul from Presnel Kimpembe, but his ban has been suspended while Uefa investigate what happened.
When the players walked out for kick-off, they lined up around the centre circle side-by-side with one another, PSG players mixing with Istanbul players, and all took the knee as the Champions League anthem played.
It is a sight that has been regularly seen at the start of Premier League matches, though does not always happen in European matches, and every player – as well as the officials and coaches on the sidelines – joined in, also raising their fists.
The match resumed in the 14th minute, starting with the foul Kimpembe had given away, and after a bright start Istanbul Basaksehir were undone by a moment of magic from Neymar and PSG found themselves three goals up by half-time as they looked to seal top spot.