Proud Mbappe says actions stronger than words in fight against racism

Players took knee in protest against racism before PSG-Istanbul Basaksehir match resumed on Wednesday

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 9, 2020.  / AFP / FRANCK FIFE

France striker Kylian Mbappe said it was time for action against racism when his Paris Saint-Germain team followed Istanbul Basaksehir off the pitch in protest after the Turkish club accused a match official of racism on Tuesday.

The Champions League group game was suspended after 13 minutes as the players did not return to the pitch and all of them, as well as the three onfield referees, took the knee in protest against racism before the match resumed on Wednesday.

"Of course I am proud of what was done," Mbappe, 21, said after PSG beat Basaksehir 5-1 to top Champions League Group H.

"A lot of things were said but in fact, there's nothing better than actions."

The incident was sparked when Basaksehir's assistant coach Pierre Webo was shown a red card for protesting against a refereeing decision and the Turkish side claimed that Romanian fourth official Sebastian Coltescu used a racist term towards the Cameroonian.

Uefa has launched an investigation into the incident.

"We are tired, we don't want to go through this (racism incidents) again," Mbappe said.

"We're all human beings and this was intolerable. People are fed up and we had to do something.

"Yesterday we were not disappointed not to play. We made that decision. We were proud.

"The more you let these things slide, the more you're led to believe that it's normal. But no, it's not normal."

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel backed his players.

"They made a strong decision, they stuck with the other team and made a brave decision," Tuchel said.

"In the dressing room it was clear that they wanted to show that reaction."

He said the topic was discussed at a team lunch on Wednesday, hours before the game restarted.

"We didn't want to force the team to focus on sport. We had already prepared for the game the day before," the German said.

"We realised that it was necessary to understand what had happened and to show respect for every player's feelings and opinions.

"It as an important situation for the team. It shows that some things are more important than sport."