Jose Mourinho believes Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir players walking off and their Champions League match being postponed because of an alleged racist incident could be an “iconic” moment in the fight against racism.
Players from both teams walked off the pitch at the Parc des Princes after Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu was accused of using a racist term when identifying Basaksehir’s assistant coach, Pierre Webo, during an incident in the 14th minute of the match.
Webo was shown a red card during a heated exchange on the touchline and the match was later suspended, with the game rescheduled for Wednesday with a new team of match officials.
Mourinho admits he is disappointed to see another allegation of racism in football but hopes the match will prove to be a defining moment in the sport’s fight against discrimination.
“It’s a very sad situation and every form of racism has to be fought. It’s never accepted. I’m very sad because we don’t want that in football,” said the Tottenham head coach.
“I personally know the referee, Ovidiu Hategan. Good guy, very good referee. To be involved indirectly in a game that will become quite iconic is not a nice thing.
“The fourth official, only he can express his feelings. Of course he made an unacceptable mistake but only he can open his heart, apologise and accept the consequences. Probably he is a very good referee.
“Everyone in football and society, we have our responsibilities in relation to these situations and if we make mistakes, we have to accept the responsibilities.
“But more important for me is that that game becomes quite iconic. Champions League, to stop after 15 minutes for a very sad reason, will become iconic and hopefully, in the future, never happens again.
“But as a football guy, I’m very, very sorry that in my industry, that situation happened.”