Galtier taking legal action after racism allegations, Paris Saint-Germain stand by their coach

By Sports Desk April 14, 2023

Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier has initiated legal proceedings after he was accused of making racist comments about players during his time as Nice boss.

The allegations, which Galtier strenuously denies, came in an email 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, 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. The latter's lawyer, Olivier Martin, has said the 56-year-old PSG coach "contests with the greatest firmness" the accusations made against him.

French media reported on Friday that police in Nice had launched an investigation.

Ahead of PSG's crucial Ligue 1 meeting with second-placed Lens, Galtier confirmed he was taking legal action.

In a prepared statement, Galtier told reporters: "I cannot accept my name and my family's name being tarnished in this way. I have therefore decided to take legal action against anyone damaging my reputation.

"I have confidence in the legal system in France. I have just found out that legal proceedings are beginning and I will not be making any further comments on this matter.

"PSG have a very important match tomorrow. All my energy and focus is on that game."

Galtier said he was "very shocked by the allegations that some people have irresponsibly made".

He has reportedly received threats this week since the email came to light, with PSG ensuring he has been allocated added protection.

Galtier added: "These allegations hurt me in the deepest part of my being. I grew up in the inner city and was brought up in a mixing pot, with the overwriting values of sharing and respect for others, regardless of their origin, skin colour or religion.

"My whole life as a man, footballer and coach has been underpinned by constantly looking out for, sharing life with and living happily alongside others."

Asked how the allegations had affected PSG's preparations for Saturday's clash, Galtier said: "It has been very tough, I have focused on my work with the players and staff, to prepare for a big match as well as possible.

"It is not pleasant, but the times I have had with the players, preparing for this really big game, have allowed me to forget for some periods. We have been working hard, my players are determined and committed."

Galtier disclosed he had not discussed the matter directly with his squad, but said the players "have given me the best responses by the way they have been training".

His comments came after PSG's press officer outlined the club's support of their coach.

"Christophe has clearly responded by denying them and he is going to take legal action," the press officer said. "The club supports Christophe in the face of these unacceptable threats and this matter will be dealt with legally.

"In a bid to protect the security and safety of everyone, the club asks everyone to take responsibility. PSG, the board, players and all employees have no tolerance for any form of discrimination on and off the pitch.

"The fight against racism and all forms of discrimination is a fundamental part of the club's ethos. The club has been shocked by this episode and everyone remains fully focused on Saturday's game."

Galtier has received support from some of his former players, such as Burak Yilmaz and Jose Fonte, as well as fellow coaches.

"I have received many messages, many pleasant ones, supportive ones," he said. "I have seen the public support from certain people, coaches, club officials, players, and have had many messages to my phone. These are very difficult moments.

"This is a matter away from football. When you become coach of PSG, you know that there will be a lot of pressure, comments, analysis, criticism. This is something away from sport, but that's how it is, it's what I am living through. I have to face up to it."

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