The Romanian referee accused of racism during a Champions League game has been banned from officiating for the rest of the season despite being cleared of discriminatory behaviour.
Sebastian Coltescu, who was fourth official for Paris St Germain’s abandoned clash with Istanbul Basaksehir in Paris on December 8, and assistant referee Octavian Sovre were alleged to have used racist language to the Turkish club’s assistant coach Pierre Webo.
However, an investigation conducted by UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body found that while the pair behaved inappropriately, they were not guilty of racism or discriminatory behaviour.
A UEFA statement said the CEDB had decided: “To suspend Mr Sebastian Constantin Coltescu from carrying out any referee’s function until the end of the 2020/21 season, i.e. until 30 June 2021, for the violation of Article 11(1) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR) and Article 6(1) of the General Terms and Conditions for Referees officiating at UEFA Matches (GTC), i.e. for inappropriate behaviour during a UEFA match for which he was appointed.
“To order Mr Sebastian Constantin Coltescu to attend an educational programme before 30 June 2021 under the conditions determined by the UEFA refereeing services.
“To reprimand Mr Octavian Sovre for the violation of Article 11(1) DR and Article 6(1) of the General Terms and Conditions for Referees officiating at UEFA Matches, i.e. for inappropriate behaviour during a UEFA match for which he was appointed.
“To order Mr Octavian Sovre to attend an educational programme as soon as possible, but before 30 June 2021 under the conditions determined by the UEFA refereeing services.
“With this decision, the CEDB has therefore considered that both match officials violated Articles 11(1) DR and 6(1) GTC (obligation to behave in an appropriate manner), but not Article 14 DR (racism and other discriminatory conduct).”
The disciplinary body also urged match officials to ensure the language they use during matches is appropriate at all times.
The statement added: “The CEDB also agreed with the EDI that UEFA officials should be adequately and specifically trained to make better decisions on the choice of language and words to be used in UEFA competitions.
“In the international context, correct use of language is essential to avoid situations such as those that occurred in the above-mentioned match.”
Webo, whose red card prompted the 13th-minute incident, was also ordered to serve a one-match ban for unsporting behaviour.
Both sets of players walked off the pitch with the score at 0-0 as a result of the allegation, and the Group H game was eventually abandoned.
It was played the following night with a different team of officials in charge and PSG romped to a 5-1 win in which Brazil international Neymar plundered a hat-trick.