Liverpool legend John Barnes defends official following accusations of racism as Champions League match is abandoned
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Liverpool legend John Barnes defends official following accusations of racism as Champions League match is abandoned

FORMER LIVERPOOL star John Barnes has weighed into the controversy surrounding an abandoned Champions League match on Tuesday night.

Taking to Twitter, Barnes stuck up for a refereeing assistant who was accused of making a 'racist' comment.

Paris Saint Germain's clash with Istanbul Basaksehir was postponed in the 23rd minute when players decided to leave the field due to claims that one of the Romanian officials had abused Basaksehir's assistant manager.

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Fourth official Sebastian Coltescu was accused of 'racially abusing' Pierre Webo in the aftermath of the assistant coach being shown a red card.

It's understood that Coltescu used the Romanian word 'negru', meaning 'black', to identify Webo to the other referees.

Webo, and others on the Basaksehir bench took issue with the word, and angrily confronted Coltescu, accusing him of racism.

After a lengthy and heated discussion on the touchline, the players decided collectively to walk off the field in protest.

Reaction to the incident has been mixed, with some suggesting that Coltescu's use of the word is an example of how football still has a lot to achieve in the fight against racism.

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But former England forward Barnes, an avid anti-racism campaigner, feels the situation has been blown completely out of proportion.

Barnes made very clear that he believed the official did nothing wrong, and that he was simply passing information to the other officials in a very logical way - given that Webo was the only black member of Basaksehir's coaching staff.

When told by one Twitter user that the use of the word was racist because white people are never to like that, Barnes replied: "If they are the ONLY white person in a room or group ... THEY ARE ... how else would YOU describe the ONLY white person or BLACK person in a group?"

Barnes went on to say that people need to understand the context behind someone's words before decided if they're racist or not, and that because the Romania word for black is similar to a slur used in the English language, it's wrong for us to demand that Romanian's stop using it.

He stressed that someone describing a black person as 'black' was not, in of itself, racist.

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"Didn't know that to call a black man black is offensive ... can commentators and pundits say black players?" He wrote.

"Why would describing someone as black potentially incite trouble? Is calling someone black insulting?"