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Pogba and Kean detail harrowing racism they’ve faced in new UEFA documentary

Two men, one problem and no end in sight.

When Paul Pogba sat down with Moise Kean to discuss racism for a new UEFA documentary, each could feel the other’s pain.

Kylian Mbappe and co may have drawn that line in the sand with the walkoff in the Champions League game between PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir earlier this month.

But for Pogba and Kean the scars of what they’d suffered already have left an indelible mark.

Kean, on loan at PSG from Everton, recalled the abuse he endured in April last year at Cagliari as a Juventus striker.

Speaking on the documentary, Outraged, Football Tackles Discrimination, he said: “We were playing away from home against Cagliari. We heard ‘Ooo, Ooo, Ooo!’, which is what you do to imitate a monkey.

Kean stood proud in front of the Cagliari fans racially abusing him

“I said: ‘I need to do something here. I need to do something. I need to score to make them truly…”

“A cross came in from (team-mate) Rodrigo Bentacur. I got in there. Goal. I went to the Cagliari stands and opened my arms as if to say: “This is me. I am black. I am black. I am who I am.”

Pogba adds: “It’s not like a white person can understand it. Perhaps they can understand. But they’ve never been in your shoes. Never in my shows. They’ve never heard ‘Oh, monkey’.

Pogba then recalls his own experience, also as a Juventus star, playing in front of a hostile Fiorentina crowd.

Pogba was subject to racist abuse while playing for Juventus against Fiorentina

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He explains: “I was playing away at Fiorentina. There was a child screaming and insulting me along with his father.

“I was in shock as he was doing that with his son. I took off my shirt and gave it to them and eventually they applauded me.

“I thought it was the best answer I could give. His son was supporting Fiorentina and maybe he was happy to receive my jersey.”

In a summing up to underline the scale of the fight facing football, however, Pogba reiterated the weary resignation of a generation of footballers who now steel themselves to expect abuse every time they play.

Pogba says it receiving racist abuse has “become normal”

“Maybe for us it has become normal,” he went on. “You see it more and more. It’s sad to say that because it has maybe become normal. I feel sorry for those people. I really want to understand why.

“There are a lot of people that can resolve this. We need to do something to make a change.”

Outraged: Football Tackling Discrimination is a powerful hour exploring discrimination in all areas of the game across Europe.

It is also a signal in itself that, since Mirror Sport’s exclusive interview with UEFA President Alexander Ceferin twelve months ago, the organisation has taken its head out of the sand.

PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes has since become the first black man appointed to UEFA’s disciplinary committee in charge of punishments for racism.

Sanctions will be reviewed with the spotlight on the European game at all levels. The documentary includes footage from a string of incidents on and off the pitch, from the walkoff in the game between Haringey Borough and Yeovil to the man being pushed off a train in France by Chelsea fans.

As clubs step up to the plate to do their bit in addressing racism, UEFA is well aware that the onus is on them to do the same.

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UEFA president calls for greater support from Governments to tackle racism

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has called for government backing to help football’s fight against racism.

But the Slovenian fears he will struggle because of the rise and influence of right wing regimes across Europe.

Speaking in a hard-hitting UEFA documentary called Outraged: Football Tackles Discrimination, Ceferin said: “UEFA does a lot but it is never enough.

“We have to do more but we need strong support from the governments.

“We have a problem with some governments because they have a problem with discrimination.”

Reflecting on last year’s abuse for England’s players in Bulgaria, Ceferin adds: “It was a terrible situation in that match.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin

“Idiots with their idiotic ideology who use football matches to promote that idiotic ideology.

“We have to do whatever we can to stop it.”

Adding her voice in UEFA’s new film, women’s football superstar Megan Rapinoe said: “We are seeing a rise of right wing nationalism around the world.

“It’s giving a breath of new life to these fans or other people who are like: ‘Oh, I’m not the only one who feels this way.’

“Before Donald Trump it was much more unacceptable to blatantly say racist things. Not that people didn’t feel racist things but people now feel empowered to say so as well.”

The star-studded documentary – which also deals with sexism, homophobia and the treatment of refugees – comes at a time with UEFA investigating an official in the recent Champions League game between PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir.

A comment allegedly made by the official led to both sets of players walking off the pitch and refusing to return.

The doc also includes contributions from Manchester United superstar Paul Pogba, Dutch legend Everton striker Moise Kean, England defender Lucy Bronze, ex-England women’s coach Hope Powell and ex-Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren.

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PSG’s touching gesture to Pierre Webo after rearranged game amid race row

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi handed Pierre Webo a special shirt after the Istanbul Basaksehir assistant manager was the victim of alleged racism during the two sides’ Champions League clash.

Tuesday’s fixture at Parc des Princes was suspended early on after Webo was allegedly abused by fourth official Sebastian Coltescu.

The incident prompted a heated exchange between the Romanian match officials and players from both sides, before PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir players and staff departed the pitch.

UEFA are continuing to investigate the incident, while the game resumed on Wednesday with a new set of officials.

PSG won their final group-stage fixture 5-1 thanks to Neymar’s hat-trick and Kylian Mbappe’s double.

Istanbul assistant coach Webo was allegedly racially abused by the fourth official

Webo’s sending off in the 14th minute of Tuesday’s match was what prompted the incident, but the former Cameroon international returned to the bench on Wednesday as UEFA suspended his red card.

After the game concluded, Al-Khelaifi presented Webo with a PSG jersey with his name and No. 9 printed – the same number he wore while a forward for Fenerbahce and Mallorca.

Webo was presented with a special jersey by PSG’s president

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Meanwhile, players from both sides warmed up for Wednesday’s resuming match with T-shirts bearing the words “No to Racism”, and took the knee alongside the newly-appointed Dutch and Polish officials.

PSG fans hung a banner in Parc des Princes which read: “We support Mr. Webo. We are proud of our players. Against racism.”

The Ligue 1 giants surged to a 3-0 lead by half-time thanks to Neymar’s double and Mbappe’s penalty.

Both stars netted again in the second half, while Mehmet Topal grabbed a consolation goal for the visitors.

The result saw PSG qualify top of Champions League Group H on their way to the knock-out stages, while Al-Khelaifi also provided an update on Mbappe and Neymar’s contract negotiations.

How far with PSG go in the Champions League this season? Have your say here.

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PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir players in anti-racism gesture before game resumes

Players from PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir both wore t-shirts that read “NO TO RACISM” before their clash resumed.

The Champions League Group H match was halted after just 14 minutes on Tuesday night due to an alleged racist incident.

It is thought that a slur was directed at Basaksehir assistant manager Pierre Webo from the Romanian fourth official.

The action resumed on Wednesday along with the early kick offs.

And the players showed their solidarity with several gestures to show that they are against racism.

During the warm-ups t-shirts were worn with the tagline “NO TO RACISM” and the badges of both clubs.

Players wore t-shirts with an anti-racism message before the game

Then just before kick off, all the players kneeled around the centre-circle as the iconic Champions League anthem rang out at the Parc des Princes.

A banner inside the stadium read: “We stand with Mr Webo… proud of the players… against racism… Paris is united against racism.”

The match resumed in the 14th minute with the score still locked at 0-0.

Members of both sides then took a knee around the centre circle

A whole new set of officials were brought in given the circumstances.

UEFA are expected to launch an investigation into the incident in Paris on Tuesday night.

A statement read: “Following an incident at Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and İstanbul Başakşehir FK, UEFA has – after discussion with both clubs – decided on an exceptional basis to have the remaining minutes of the match played on Wednesday with a new team of match officials. The kick-off has been set at 18:55 CET.

“Racism, and discrimination in all its forms, has no place within football.”

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Fourth official breaks silence on PSG vs Istanbul Basaksehir racism accusation

UEFA official Sebastian Coltescu has defended himself after an Istanbul Basaksehir coach accused him of using a racist term.

Players from both the Turkish champions and hosts Paris Saint-Germain left the pitch and didn’t return in Tuesday’s Champions League group clash in the French capital after Basaksehir coach Pierre Webo accused Coltescu of racism following a touchline row.

Webo was dismissed from the bench after Coltescu had informed referee Ovidiu Hategan that he was the coach he wanted disciplined amid touchline protests.

It is alleged that Coltescu used a racist term to Hategen when describing Webo, which those in the vicinity heard.

Sebastian Coltescu maintains his innocence

Coltescu has now spoken out in Romnian media about the incident, and maintains that he is innocent.

“I just try to be good,” he told ProSport.

“I’m not going to read any news sites these next few days. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not racist! At least that’s what I hope.”

UEFA have announced that they will be launching an inquiry into what happened, saying in a statement: “In accordance with the Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed today to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding the incident.”

Webo was sent off by the official

The match will resume in the 14th minute on Wednesday at 5.55 GMT but with an entirely different team of officials.

Basaksehir have announced that Webo’s red card will be rescinded, and he will take his place back on the bench for the resumption of the match.

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Kylian Mbappe sends message after PSG’s game against Istanbul suspended

PSG forward Kylian Mbappe has posted a message of support to Pierre Webo after the Istanbul Basaksehir assistant was allegedly the subject of a racist term by Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu.

The Champions League game between the two sides was suspended in the first half after the players walked off the pitch in protest.

The incident occurred after Webo was sent off around a quarter of an hour into the game, with footage showing Webo angrily asking why Coltescu used the word ‘negru’, which is Romanian for black.

TV footage picked up Coltescu talking to the referee and saying: “The black one over there. Go and check who he is. The black one over there, it’s not possible to act like that.”

Kylian Mbappe and his PSG teammates joined Istanbul in walking off the pitch

Mbappe, who was involved in the match, was among those to show his strong support for Webo as the fallout to the incident continues.

He tweeted: “SAY NO TO RACISM. M.WEBO WE ARE WITH YOU!”

Mbappe is also believed to have been one of the PSG players to immediately display anger towards the fourth official, and it is alleged he told the referee: “We cannot play with this guy.”

Mbappe’s message of support for Webo was far from the only one on social media.

His former club Fenerbahce tweeted: “We strongly support and stand with Pierre Webo. No to racism.”

The game will now finish on Wednesday with a different referee team

And the legendary Roger Miller posted: “Stay strong my fellow Achille Webo. You don’t deserve that. You have all my support.”

It has now been confirmed the game will not be finished on Tuesday night after Istanbul tweeted to say the players would not be returning to the pitch.

Instead it will take place on Wednesday, with a UEFA statement reading: “UEFA has – after discussion with both clubs – decided on an exceptional basis to have the remaining minutes of the match played tomorrow with a new team of match officials. The kick-off has been set at 18:55 CET.”

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Champions League last 16 draw date, teams and fixture details

The Champions League group stages come to an end this week.

After a hectic schedule for the 32 clubs involved to date, the teams that make it through to the knockout stages won’t have to worry about another European fixture after this week until mid-February.

A number of teams have already made it through, and some even have the luxury of knowing they’ve already won their group, giving them the crucial luxury to rest players in the run-up to the packed Christmas schedule.

Here’s everything you need to know about the draw for the next stage of the competition as the final group games are played.

When is the Champions League draw?

Fans of the 16 teams who make it through to the next round of the Champions League won’t have long to wait to find out who their opponents are.

The draw will be held on Monday December 14 at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

UEFA’s ceremony will begin at 11am and the draw will start shortly afterwards, once the introductions and format explanation are out the way.

Champions League draw format

All teams who make it through will be divided into two pots of eight; one for the group winners and another for the runners-up.

Clubs cannot play their group stage opponents in the last 16 or teams from the same country, meaning no all-Premier League clashes yet.

Group winners will be away for the first leg, giving them home advantage for the second half of the tie.

Who has qualified for the last 16?

Curtis Jones’ goal against Ajax helped Liverpool secure top spot in Group D with a game to spare

Nine teams have already secured their spots in the second round with a final round of group games still to play. They are:

Bayern Munich (Group A): The reigning German and European champions have made light work of Group A, scoring 16 goals in five games to establish themselves as group winners.

Man City (Group C): Pep Guardiola’s side qualified after four group games, and a draw with Porto on matchday five secured their place as Group C winners. That could allow a few big names to have a night off this week.

Porto (Group C): While the Portuguese side can’t beat Man City to the top of Group C, their seven-point lead over Olympiacos and Marseille means their qualification is assured.

Liverpool (Group D): Nobody can surpass Liverpool at the top of Group D after four wins and one defeat from their opening five games. Good news for Jurgen Klopp, who is worried about injuries as the fixture list shows no sign of easing.

Chelsea (Group E): Became one of the first two sides to qualify thanks to victory over Rennes in matchday four, Olivier Giroud’s four goals against Sevilla last time out secured top spot for Frank Lampard’s side with a game to spare.

Sevilla (Group E):Chelsea ’s Group E rivals Sevilla have also made it through, securing qualification after four games. Having lost to Chelsea twice, they can’t overtake the Blues, meaning they will definitely be an unseeded runner up in the last 16 draw.

Jadon Sancho scores for Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund have made it through to the Champions League last 16

Borussia Dortmund (Group F): Boasting this season’s joint top-scorer so far, the sensational Erling Braut Haaland, Dortmund’s place in the last 16 is assured, though they’re not confirmed winners of Group F.

Barcelona (Group G): Despite a miserable start to La Liga, the Catalan giants have a 100% record so far in this year’s Champions League. They could still lose their grip on top spot if they lose to Juventus on the final group matchday.

Juventus (Group G): Italian champions Juventus will be in the last 16 having won four of their five games. They go to Barcelona on the final day to battle it out for top spot, and this time should have Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored his 750th career goal last week.

Last 16 fixture dates

The first leg will be played over Tuesday February 15 and Wednesday February 16, with the reverse fixtures taking place four weeks later between Tuesday March 15 and Wednesday March 16.

After that, the quarter-finals will be played between April 6 and April 14 and the semi-finals between April 27 and May 5, before the final in Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium (scene of Liverpool’s memorable 2005 triumph) on May 29.

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Woodward promises Man Utd a summer warchest as he details exciting future plans

Ed Woodward has promised to bankroll Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the summer transfer window and hand the Manchester United boss a warchest for new players.

The Red Devils executive vice-chairman has come out publicly to back Solskjaer on several occasions over the past two years, even amid growing speculation United were considering replacing him with former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Solskjaer has spent an eye-watering £180million since the summer of 2019, which is more than any other club in major European football.

And Man United’s spending is set to continue as Woodward, who clearly believes in the direction Solskjaer is taking the Old Trafford club, has vowed to hand him even more cash.

Ed Woodward has promised to bankroll Man United in the summer transfer window

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“What happens on the field is clearly our top priority,” said Woodward, in a recent fans’ forum meeting held virtually with Manchester United supporters.

“And while it’s not the same without fans in the stadium, we’ve seen lots of highs since our last meeting in April, with that 14-game unbeaten run to finish third in last season’s Premier League run and great wins against PSG and RB Leipzig on our return to the Champions League this season.

“Of course, we recognise there’s more hard work ahead to achieve the consistency needed to win trophies.

“But we see positive signs on the pitch and the training ground that reinforce our belief in the progress being made by Ole, his coaching team and the players.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have more money to spend at the end of the season

“I told this forum back in April that we remained committed to strengthening the squad, while being disciplined in our spending during the pandemic.

“I believe we’ve delivered on that, with the additions we made during the summer taking our total net spending to over €200million (£180m) since summer 2019 – more than any other major European club over that period.

“We will continue to support Ole with a planned, long-term approach to recruitment, focused on the summer windows.”

Woodward also confirmed that Manchester United are in discussions with UEFA, the European Club Association, and other clubs on the continent about the future of UEFA’s club competitions.

Woodward has promised the Old Trafford club will make the most of the summer transfer window

The format of the Champions League is at the top of the agenda, with talks that a break-away Super League could become part of a radical overhaul post 2024.

Woodward added: “Most of my time in this regard is focused, through the ECA and the UCCSA [a joint-venture between the ECA and UEFA], on the strengthening of existing UEFA club competitions.

“The dialogue focuses on them continuing to be predominantly mid-week games having little or no impact on the Premier League.

“We believe that any changes to European competition post-2024 must be complementary to thriving domestic leagues.

Harry Maguire is an important player for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd
Solskjaer has already splashed the cash on the likes of Harry Maguire

“Other domestic leagues feel the same way, reflected in conversation with our counterparts in other clubs and countries.

“What I can assure you of is that we will keep match-going fans firmly in the centre of thoughts, whether with the Premier League, ECA or UEFA, and across our decision-making processes overall, because the past eight months has reminded us all of just how crucial you are to the fabric of the game. This game without fans is nothing.”

Will Man Utd qualify for the Champions League knockout stages? Have your say here.

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Lionel Messi’s response when referee told him to show Liverpool some respect


Lionel Messi was seemingly stunned when referee Bjorn Kuipers ordered him to ‘show Liverpool some respect’ in the Champions League.

A new UEFA documentary entitled ‘Man in the Middle’ brought the exchange to light, which took place at the Camp Nou during the first leg of the 2019 Champions League semi-final between the two sides.

Barcelona won the first leg 3-0, with Messi netting twice against the Reds.

The Argentine scored one of the goals of his career with a sensational free-kick that goalkeeper Alisson could get nowhere near to, and then proceeded to celebrate.

Dutch referee Kuipers considered the celebrations to be a little long-winded, and, as shown in a clip from the ‘Man in the Middle’ documentary, called on Messi to get back into position so the game could be restarted.

Lionel Messi was seemingly stunned when ordered to ‘show Liverpool some respect’

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In the short video, Kuipers says: “Messi! Why? Come on! Show them some respect! Go! Every time, you do it. Come on! Why do you do it?”

Stunned at being challenged, Messi attempts to plead his innocence but quickly gets back into his half for the game to continue as Kuipers shouts after him: “Go now!”

Luis Suarez is also seen in the clip, and he reacts to Kuipers’ command by throwing his arms up in the air in apparent disgust.

A new UEFA documentary entitled ‘Man in the Middle’ has brought the exchange to light

The match was the first leg of what many consider to be the greatest Champions League tie of the last five years.

Barcelona took a commanding lead to Liverpool, and were favourites to qualify for the final, where they would take on Tottenham.

Dutch referee Kuipers considered the celebrations to be a little long-winded

But the Reds had other ideas, and against all the odds turned the tie on its head, running out 4-0 winners on the night and 4-3 winners on aggregate.

Liverpool would go on to beat Tottenham in the final, atoning for their 2019 defeat.

Will Liverpool win the Champions League this season? Have your say here.

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Referee explains why Sancho’s dribbling skills forces him to change positions


Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan has discussed how Jadon Sancho’s dribbling style forces him to change his position.

The match official has explained all in a behind-the-scenes UEFA documentary focusing on referees.

It details some of the fiery conversations between themselves and players during European matches over the past two seasons.

Hategan was discussing his experience having taken charge of a game between Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund in which he gave a penalty after Nelson Semedo had fouled Sancho.

“Even now, I see in Dortmund they have a very good right winger from England [Sancho] and one against one with the defender, [he] always creates problems,” he said on the UEFA documentary.

Nelson Semedo fouled Jadon Sancho which resulted in a penalty

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“When he has the ball, I always move a little bit on the right-side on my diagonal – so I broke my diagonal and I went on the right-side of the penalty area because I knew something could happen.

“I was in the perfect position, I’ve seen the stamp, clear foul and I whistle the penalty without any hesitation.”

Marco Reus saw his spot kick saved by German compatriot Marc-Andre ter Stegen in a game that finished goalless.

That was the only major call Hategan had to make at Signal Iduna Park.

Ovidiu Hategan analysed his own performance in a UEFA documentary

And after the contest he was quick to assess his performance with his team

“At the end of the match, you know as a referee if you have done a good match,” he said.

“My team were very happy in the dressing room after the match.

“When I see the replay [in] the next days, I can hear the crowd signing because when I’m there on the pitch, I’m so focussed – I’m in my own world.”

The four-part documentary follows the lives of 16 of UEFA’s top referees – including Premier League officials Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor.





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