Champions League: PSG, Basaksehir players take a knee

Taking a knee was popularised by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and gathered steam as an anti-racism protest following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis in May.

PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir players

PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir players held their fists in the air as they gathered around the centre circle and wore 'No to racism' T-shirts during the warm-up.   -  AP

Paris St Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir players, as well as the three onfield match officials, took a knee before their Champions League game resumed on Wednesday after being suspended the day before.

The match was halted after 13 minutes on Tuesday when the players of both teams walked off in protest after the Turkish club accused a match official of racism.

Players also held their fists in the air as they gathered around the centre circle and wore 'No to racism' T-shirts during the warm-up.

UEFA said on Wednesday it had appointed an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector to “conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding the incident”.

“Of course, I am proud of what was done. A lot of things were said but in fact there's nothing better than actions,” said PSG and France striker Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe and his team mate Presnel Kimpembe were the most vocal in their support of Istanbul Basaksehir's decision to leave the pitch.

“We showed the entire world that we are united,” said Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk.

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The incident was sparked when Basaksehir's assistant coach Pierre Webo was shown a red card for protesting against a refereeing decision and the Turkish side then alleged that the Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu used a racist term towards the Cameroonian.

The four Romanian match officials were replaced for Wednesday's restart and Webo sat in the stands with the rest of his team's staff after his red card was suspended pending the UEFA investigation.

Taking a knee was popularised by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and gathered steam as an anti-racism protest following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis in May.

Last Saturday, Millwall fans booed their players and visitor Derby County, when they took a knee before their Championship match in London.

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Two banners carrying anti-racism messages were placed in the Auteuil tribune of the Parc des Princes stadium. The first read 'Support to Mr Webo... Proud of the players... Against racism', with the second one saying “Paris united against racism”.

UEFA had two banners of their own with both clubs' logos, reading “No to racism”, one in French and the other in English.

The game, played without spectators as part of restrictions in France to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, was one-sided, with PSG winning 5-1 thanks to a Neymar hat-trick and two goals from Mbappe.

Thomas Tuchel's side, which had only picked up three points in its first three games, topped Group H on 12 points, ahead of RB Leipzig thanks to a better head-to-head record after the German side also progressed following its 3-2 victory over Manchester United on Tuesday.

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