Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has accused France of being a place where racism has become ‘intensified’ after a slur was used by an official during a Champions League match.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir were facing off in the UEFA Champions League when the fourth official was accused of using a racist slur, resulting in players walking off the pitch after only 14 minutes of play.
Erdogan, who has clashed with French President Emmanuel Macron in recent weeks, addressed the incident during a news conference in Turkey’s capital Ankara.
This approach is unforgivable. Our determined stance will continue…France has become a country where racist rhetoric, actions are intensified.
While the match took place in Paris’s Parc des Princes stadium, the individual accused of racially abusing the Turkish team’s assistant manager was a Romanian official, unconnected to France’s football league or PSG.
The French government has not yet responded to Erdogan’s criticism but PSG showed solidarity with Istanbul Basaksehir, walking off the pitch alongside them.
UEFA released a brief statement on social media, stating that it will conduct a thorough investigation but, in the meantime, the match has been rescheduled and will take place on Wednesday night. The football body reaffirmed its official position that “racism, and discrimination in all its forms, has no place within football.”
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Erdogan’s latest barb is a continuation of the ongoing dispute between the two sides ahead of an EU summit on European-Turkish relations.
The Turkish president previously declared that he hopes France “gets rid of the Macron problem as soon as possible,” as he is at odds with the French president over his crackdown on radical Muslim groups in France, after a schoolteacher was brutally murdered for showing his class a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed.
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