PSG coach Christophe Galtier feels hurt ‘at the deepest levels’ by accusations that he made racist comments


Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier said he was “hurt at the deepest level of his humanity” by accusations he made racist and anti-Muslim comments when he was in charge of French club Nice.

RMC Sport and other French media this week cited a leaked email from former director of football Julien Fournier to the club’s owners, in which he accused Gaultier of saying the squad had too many black and Muslim players.

“I am deeply shocked by the comments that have been attributed to me and that have been carried out irresponsibly by some people,” Gaultier, 56, said on Friday ahead of league leaders PSG’s home game against second-place Lens on Saturday. were done . “They hurt me at the deepest level of my humanity. I was a child who grew up on a council estate, in a mixed environment (with) the values ​​of partnership and respect for other people, whoever they are. , (whatever) their. origin, their colour, their religion.”

Gaultier said they are taking legal action.

He said, “I cannot accept that my name and my family’s name has been tarnished in this way. “That is why I have decided to file charges against anyone who harms my honor.”

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Nice prosecutor Xavier Bonhomme said on Friday that a preliminary investigation into “alleged discrimination based on race or religion” had been launched. He said that the head office of the club is being searched by the Nice police.

PSG’s head of communications Julien Maynard said there were “serious allegations” against Gaultier and the club fully supported him.

RMC Sport said Fournier, who had been at loggerheads with Gaultier during his tenure at Nice, had written to Ineos director of sports Dave Brailsford asking him to give details of his conversation with the coach.

PSGs head coach Christophe Gaultier is shown during the French Ligue 1 soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon on April 2, 2023 in Paris, France. Gaultier is “hurt at the deepest levels” by accusations of being racist and anti-Semitism. Muslim comments on a former job. (AP Photo/Aurelian Morissard)

Ineos acquired the southern club in 2019 and appointed Gaultier as coach in 2021 after winning 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 reportedly said Gaultier complained in August 2021 that the team had too many black and Muslim players, and that it did not reflect the city’s racial profile. Fournier told local newspaper Nice-Matin that he was not responsible for the leaked document.

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Turkish forward Burak Yilmaz, who played under Gaultier at Lille, defended his former coach. Gaultier also received support from Lance coach Frank Hice, Rains coach Bruno Genesio and Brest coach Eric Roy.

“It’s difficult moments like this that you appreciate the support you get,” Galtier said Friday. “It’s been tough, tough. But I’ve been determined to work with my staff to prepare in the best way possible for this big game.”

Galtier said he had not spoken to the players about the allegations, “but they gave me the best answer with their full commitment in training.”

A prominent group of PSG supporters – the CUP (Paris Ultras Collective) – called for Gaultier’s departure if the comments were found to be true.

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“I have read their statement. I have no doubt that all our supporters will be behind the team,” Gaultier said, looking ahead to Saturday’s match.

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

Gaultier paused before answering when asked if he thought someone was out for revenge against him.

“I can’t answer that,” he said.

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