THE two Romanian officials at the centre of the Champions League racism row have been charged by Uefa.
Sebastian Coltescu, the fourth official whose alleged comments to former Cameroon star Pierre Webo saw the players of both Istanbul Basaksehir and PSG walk off the pitch in December, and assistant ref Octavian Sovre face severe sanctions if the cases are deemed proved.
Uefa announced that the pair had both been charged with “potential violation” of its Article 11.
But there were no more details of the precise allegations, which came after reports in Romania and Spain – where the lawyer to the pair is based – that they had been cleared of any alleged racism.
The charges follow a two-month investigation by the Uefa ethics and disciplinary inspector after the incident in the 14th minute of the December 8 match.
Webo was infuriated by the language used towards him with his team walking off in protest.
With Istanbul refusing to play on with the officials still involved – even with Uefa proposing Coltescu was replaced and switched to VAR duties – the match was initially abandoned.
It was then restarted 24 hours later at the point at which play had stopped, with PSG winning 5-1 to take top spot in the group, which also included Manchester United.
The match was due to be the final game of Coltescu’s career but his official retirement was announced the following day.
Now, though, he faces being further shamed by Uefa’s probe, which has now been sent to the organisation’s control, ethics and disciplinary chamber.
The fact that neither PSG nor Istanbul face any charges for walking off and causing the delay of the match is a clear signal that the two officials have been deemed to be entirely responsible for the events of the night.
Article 11 covers all forms of misconduct under Uefa regulations but it seems that the charge will relate to two specific breaches.
Part B of the code says a charge is valid for someone “whose conduct is insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent conduct”.
And Part I refers to a participant – player, official or club employee – “who culpably causes a match to be interrupted or abandoned, or is responsible for its interruption or abandonment”.
There are no set punishments for such cases but Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin has promised to ensure tougher action for any proven offences of racism.
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