Pierre Webo Gives First Account Of Racism Storm From Champions League Game
Istanbul Basaksehir coach Pierre Webo has spoken out following the Champions League game against PSG that erupted into a racism storm after the fourth official identified him as "the black one".
Webo was upset at being picked out for the colour of his skin and, after Istanbul substitute Demba Ba confronted the official, both sides chose to walk off the pitch on Tuesday. The game was restarted the following day, with a new set of officials, PSG eventually winning 5-1.
Now Webo has shared his feelings in an interview with the Daily Mail, insisting he feels "much better" after being briefly "out of control" on the night.
"You can hear in my voice I am much more calm now,' the 38-year-old former Cameroon international told journalist Adrian Kajumba. "When I watch my face, watching the video, what I did, how I was aggressive... woah."
"Even me I wouldn't want to be against me, against myself because I was very aggressive. It is my first time I've seen my face like that. Even me I don't remember the situation to be like that."
Webo's reaction was understandable after he allegedly heard fourth official Sebastian Coltescu use the word "negru" - Romanian for black - identifying the coach by his skin colour. Webo points out that there were better and simpler ways to point him out to the referee.
"Where I was, it was very easy [to say]: 'Eh, the third guy, [get him] out.'... It is easy. But it was also easy for him to say what he said. Why that word?"
Webo says he felt vulnerable and helpless in the aftermath, but appreciated the support both teams showed him on Tuesday. Former Manchester United player Rafael was the first Istanbul Basaksehir player to follow Webo to the dressing room.
"When I went in I didn't know what was going on in the field," Webo explained. "Rafael came in and said: 'We stop the game and don't play anymore.'
"Thirty seconds after, all the team came. They ask, 'How are you?' I didn't know. I was really nervous. I didn't want to say at that time."
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The game was postponed at 0-0 after 14 minutes, but the PSG players were clearly in agreement with their opponents that this was the right course of action to take.
"Neymar and Marquinhos and [PSG sporting director] Leonardo they called me, they were in the corridor and said: 'We apologise for what happened but you have our support.'
"They said: 'Don't worry we are with you, we are not going to play. We are not accepting these kind of words in football.'
"I didn't realise until I go out of the dressing room but the corridor was unbelievable. Neymar, [Kylian] Mbappe, [Abdou] Diallo, all the players were there."
On Wednesday night, both sets of players put on a show of solidarity by wearing 'No To Racism' T-shirts pre-game and taking a knee prior to kick-off in Paris. A banner in support of Webo was also displayed in the stadium.
"I want to say thank you to all the Paris Saint-Germain players, the club, all the people that was there, for their solidarity with us," said Webo. "I am very proud of them and want to thank for them for all the things they did in that moment because I was out of control for that five, 10 seconds."
'It was very, very important because it was a Champions League game.
'With all the things that they have around, to do this, for this kind of reaction, to the two clubs: thank you. Bravo."
All imagery: PA Images
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