On Wednesday, December 9th, Paris Saint-Germain beat Istanbul Basaksehir 5-1 for the sake of the last game of group stage of the Champions’ League and got qualified for the round of sixteen in upcoming February/March, about to be played against FC Barcelona of Lionel Messi. But the most important is elsewhere.
That game was of course a claimed victory over racism after the events of the day before and the fourth referee who deliberately called Achille Webo, the Cameroonian assistant coach of Istanbul, a black person to designate him to the central referee. This act of racism, which could be called ordinary racism, was immediately condemned by the players themselves, who then refused to resume the game and stayed in the locker room.
Another referee squad was summoned for the day after and the game resumed at the 13th minute twenty-four hours later. Demba Ba, former Chelsea striker and particularly involved in the struggle against racism, played a major part in all of this and contributed to the postponing of the game.
Now the debate is to determine whether this act was a historic decision. Never before a game of such an importance had been stopped and played the day after. Normally, what happens is that the game is stopped for a few minutes when something racist occurs (like monkey screams in the stands) and resumes afterwards. Sometimes, people act as if nothing had happened at all.
To a certain extent, that was historic, even though it is only a first step. What next? Should we now interrupt all the games every time a silly guy is yelling something racist or does something racist? This may be the solution. Perhaps we should have done like that since the beginning.
Now, it is more about bravery and solidarity: money is at stake, and in such situations, people sometimes prefer letting go to keep their privileges and avoid disturbing the system. Time will tell.