PSG coach Christophe Galtier to stand trial in racism probe

 

Christophe Galtier head coach of PSG prior the UEFA Champions League round of 16 leg two match between FC Bayern München and Paris Saint-Germain at Allianz Arena on March 8, 2023 in Munich, Germany. 

Galtier and his son, John Valovic-Galtier, were placed in custody for questioning on Friday morning.

After his son was released without charge, Galtier was referred to the public prosecutor’s office and will stand trial in Nice on Dec. 15 on charges of psychological harassment and discrimination, prosecutor Xavier Bonhomme posted on Twitter.

If found guilty, Galtier risks a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($49,000).

Galtier, who is on his way out at PSG but still under contract, denied accusations that he made racist and anti-Muslim comments when he was in charge of French club Nice when the scandal broke earlier this year.

RMC Sport and other French media published reports quoting a leaked email from former Nice director of football Julien Fournier to the club’s owners, in which he accused Galtier of saying there were too many Black and Muslim players in the squad.

Galtier said he felt hurt “at the deepest level” of his humanity by the accusations and has taken legal action.

Bonhomme said at the time a preliminary investigation had been opened into “discrimination on the grounds of alleged race or religion.” He said it was being handled by Nice police with searches of the club’s headquarters.

PSG head of communications Julien Maynard said “serious allegations” had been made against Galtier and that the club fully supported him.

RMC Sport said Fournier, who was at odds with Galtier during his tenure at Nice, wrote to Ineos director of sports Dave Brailsford to let him know about the details of a conversation he had with the coach.

Ineos acquired the southern club in 2019 and appointed Galtier as coach in 2021 after he won the title with Lille. He spent one season at Nice before joining PSG. Fournier left Nice in 2022 after more than a decade at the club.

Fournier allegedly said that Galtier complained in August 2021 that there were too many Black and Muslim players in the team, and that it did not reflect the ethnological profile of the city. Fournier told local newspaper Nice-Matin that he was not responsible for the leaked document.

Fournier had previously mentioned serious issues with Galtier during an interview with RMC, saying the PSG coach would never be able “to enter a locker room again” if he explained the reasons behind their dispute.

The 56-year-old Galtier led PSG to another French league title as expected, but PSG was eliminated early in the Champions League and the French Cup by rival Marseille this season. PSG’s form slumped after the World Cup, with 10 losses in 28 games in 2023.

Galtier has one year left on his contract but PSG has reportedly been holding talks with Luis Enrique to replace him in the coming days.

Whatever the outcome, the hope remains that justice will be served, allowing the footballing community to realign its focus on the beautiful game rather than the dark undercurrents that threaten to overshadow it. 

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