Ba urges UEFA to educate officials on racism

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Demba Ba has called for UEFA to educate its officials about racism before allowing them to referee in European competitions.

Ba was involved in a player walk-off in a Champions League match in December between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir after Romanian official Sebastian Coltescu referred to Basaksehir’s assistant coach Pierre Webo as “the Black one.”

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In March, UEFA announced that the referee was suspended following an investigation.

When asked whether it was an appropriate punishment, Ba told Sky Sports: “We haven’t heard about him, ever. He never talked I believe. The only thing I heard from him was when we spoke directly after that incident.

“A few days after I spoke to the guy, and he was telling me he is not a racist, that he has Black friends, blah, blah, blah and all of this which I can understand. I’m not saying he is a racist, but he recognised that he made a big mistake because on the football field you don’t do this — you don’t do this anywhere.

“The crazy thing is that UEFA, an entity that works across Europe, with countries of all different types of languages, with different nationalities of referees, it means that they haven’t given their referee the education before they start.

“The education should be done before they start working on the field all across Europe with different countries, different languages, different cultures and different people. The education should start before. It should not start after somebody makes a mistake.”

The striker also said the official called him to acknowledge his mistake but Ba urged him to publicly apologise in the same manner which Manchester United‘s Edinson Cavani apologised for posting the phrase “gracias, negrito” on social media in November.

Although it is widely used as a term of endearment in South America and the Caribbean, the word is regarded in England, as well as within parts of the Afro Uruguayan community, as carrying racial connotations, prompting the FA to investigate Cavani’s post. The striker was handed a three-match ban and fined £100,000 by the FA in January.

“At the end of the day, he just recognised that he made a big mistake and that’s it,” he added. “He should also go public and apologise. When [Edinson] Cavani made a mistake — which I don’t know if we can call it a mistake because culturally [in Uruguay] the word he used, negrito, a white man can use it for another white man — he comes out and apologises.

“This is the first step, because trust me you can do the worst thing to anybody but if you come and apologise with great intention of apologising and saying, ‘Sorry, I hurt you,’ it’s alright because everybody makes mistakes.

“We can hold people accountable for their mistakes, and when they come and apologise sincerely you have to accept you know, but somehow we never saw this happen. And not even to me because he was not even talking to me, he was talking to somebody else.”



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