Galtier refutes racism allegations as Fonte and Yilmaz back PSG boss

By Sports Desk April 13, 2023

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Christophe Galtier has found support after being accused of making racist comments about players during his time as Nice boss.

The allegations came in an e-mail allegedly sent by former Nice football director Julien Fournier at the end of last season.

According to The Athletic, the email's recipient was Dave Brailsford, director of sport at INEOS, the company that owns Nice.

The contents of the email were first reported on Tuesday evening, with Galtier alleged to have told Fournier – in Fournier's words – that the club "could not have so many blacks and Muslims in the team".

Fournier and Galtier both left Nice after the end of last season, with Galtier cherry-picked to be coach of champions PSG.

Galtier's lawyer, Olivier Martin, said the 56-year-old PSG coach "contests with the greatest firmness" the accusations made against him. In a statement to AFP, Martin said Galtier "learned with amazement of the insulting and defamatory remarks".

Fournier allegedly also mentioned John Valovic, the agent and adopted son of Galtier, in the e-mail.

Valovic responded on Instagram, writing: "Thanks to everyone for your support. The accusations against me are false and intolerable. They will not remain without consequences."

Veteran Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz, who played under Galtier at Lille, said the claims of racism did not tally with his own experiences.

In a message posted on Instagram on Wednesday evening, Yilmaz wrote: "I read the news today and I felt like I have to say something. I worked with Galtier and never felt any negative behaviour from him about my religion or nationality.

"He is a great coach as well as a great person."

Defender Jose Fonte, who along with Yilmaz won the 2020-21 Ligue 1 title under Galtier at Lille, also stressed the claims came as a surprise.

"In three years working with Mr Galtier, he was always close to his players and above all, very respectful," Fonte wrote. "It is upsetting reading some news today. I have only good things to say about this man."

Jean-Michel Aulas, the long-standing president of Lyon, said he was "very sorry" for Galtier.

According to the Nice-Matin newspaper and other French media, security around Galtier has been tightened up since the allegations came to light.

Aulas, quoted by RMC, said: "I am very shocked and very sorry for Christophe, whom I know personally.

"I cannot imagine this kind of thing, but it's not for me to pass judgement. We see things happening in the public square that are so different from what we advocate in football.

"From the moment Christophe expresses his refusal to accept this type of information, he has every right to do so."

Nice issued a statement on Wednesday that read: “The facts related concern two people who no longer work for OGC Nice. This situation was treated with the utmost seriousness at the time of the events. The club will not comment further."

Fournier has firmly denied leaking the email, saying in a statement to Nice-Matin: "I am in no way responsible for the dissemination of this year-old internal information at the time of my departure from the club. The timing of these revelations revolts me as much as their content."

Galtier is expected to make a routine appearance at a PSG pre-match press conference on Friday, ahead of his team's top-of-the-table Ligue 1 game against Lens the following day.

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