The Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir was suspended until the following day after players from both sides walked off the pitch on Tuesday, alleging a match official used racial language toward the Turkish side's assistant coach.
Players from the Turkish team were furious, saying fourth official Sebastian Coltescu of Romania had used a racial term against assistant coach Pierre Webo, who is from Cameroon, before Webo was sent off at Parc des Princes by Romanian match referee Ovidiu Hategan.
UEFA announced that the match will resume in the 13th minute on Wednesday at 12.55 p.m. ET (6:55 p.m. Paris time) with a new set of officials. On Wednesday, UEFA also announced it had appointed a disciplinary inspector to investigate the incident and had frozen Webo's red card until a decision is reached. Webo is therefore free to attend when the match resumes but it is not known at this stage if he will.
"Our assistant coach, Pierre Webo has been sent off with a 'racist' word by the 4th official ref. of the match. Match has stopped for a while," Istanbul Basaksehir said on the club's official Twitter feed.
Basaksehir's club president said the players would not go back onto the field as long as the fourth referee was still there.
"Following an alleged incident involving the fourth official, the match was temporarily suspended," European football's governing body, UEFA, said in a statement.
"After consultation with both teams, it was agreed that the match would restart with a different fourth official.
"UEFA will thoroughly investigate the matter and further communication will be made in due course."
Danny Makkelie has been appointed as the new referee while fellow Dutchman Mario Diks and Poland's Marcin Boniek and Bartosch Frankowsky will also be officiating the match.
The fourth official, Coltescu, was speaking Romanian, with TV footage showing him 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" after Webo had vehemently protested against a refereeing decision.
Basaksehir substitute Demba Ba repeatedly asked Hategan: "Why, when you mention a Black guy, do you have to say this Black guy?"
TV footage also showed PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe saying: "Is he serious? We are heading in. We're heading in. That's it, we're heading in."
UEFA offered to swap the fourth official and the assistant VAR, but Basaksehir refused to restart anyway, saying they wanted the fourth referee out of the game completely.
Basaksehir posted UEFA's "No to Racism" banner on Twitter, a post that was retweeted by PSG on their own official account.
PSG players Mbappe and Kimpembe also tweeted their support of the Basaksehir players before the match was abandoned.
SAY NO TO RACISM. ❌❌❌— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) December 8, 2020
M.WEBO WE ARE WITH YOU. ✊🏽
Turkish Football Federation also posted on social media: "Racism is never acceptable. We strongly condemn it. We will closely follow the matter. We stand by our representative Basaksehir."
After the match, PSG tweeted: "Any form of racism goes against the values conveyed by Paris Saint-Germain, its president, its staff and its players."
French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu supported the players' decision to walk off the pitch.
"Tonight, athletes took a historic decision in the face of an attitude they deemed unacceptable," she wrote on Twitter. "An expression of ordinary racism.
"We are awaiting the results of the investigation but I can only salute the strong symbolism of their gesture and their solidarity."
Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan also condemned the alleged racist allegations on Twitter: "I strongly condemn the racist remarks made against Pierre Webo, member of the technical staff of Basaksehir, and I am convinced that UEFA will take the necessary measures."
Despite the abandonment of the match, PSG still qualified for the Champions League knockout round after Manchester United suffered a 3-2 defeat at RB Leipzig.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.