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PSG coach Galtier detained over racism and Islamophobia allegations

Christophe Galtier taken into custody in probe over alleged comments about black and Muslim players at former Nice club
Paris Saint-Germain's French head coach Christophe Galtier attend a training session in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, on the outskirts of Paris, on 5 May 2023 (AFP)
Paris Saint-Germain's French head coach Christophe Galtier attends a training session in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, on the outskirts of Paris, on 5 May 2023 (AFP)

Christophe Galtier, head coach of Paris Saint-Germain, has been taken into police custody in the southeastern French city of Nice over allegations of racial discrimination, according to the public prosecutor.

Galtier, 56, was detained on Friday as part of an investigation into accusations of racist and Islamophobic comments made between 2021 and 2022 during his time as coach of OGC Nice. 

John Valovic-Galtier, his son and agent, was also detained as part of the same investigation. 

Allegations were first publicised in April, when journalist Romain Molina and the RMC radio station published emails containing allegations against Galtier and his son. 

Julien Fournier, Nice's former director of football, claimed that Galtier told him that he "had to take into account the reality of the city" and so therefore "we could not have so many blacks and Muslims in the team". 

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Galtier also allegedly told Fournier that he desired to change the team, "specifying that he wanted to limit the number of Muslim players as much as possible". 

According to those reports, Valovic-Galtier said that his father was upset because Fournier "had built a team of scum" and that "there are only blacks, and half the team are at the mosque on Friday afternoon". 

Fournier adds that Galtier visited a restaurant in Nice where "everyone came up to say that we have a team of blacks". 

In other accusations, Galtier is alleged to have not wanted to sign Turkish defender Ozan Kabak because of his Muslim faith, and to have complained about the number of Muslim players at Nice during the month of Ramadan.

Galtier denies allegations

An investigation was launched in Nice shortly after the allegations surfaced on the "grounds of discrimination based on alleged race or belonging to religion", according to Xavier Bonhomme, the city's public prosecutor. 

Galtier and his son strongly denied the allegations, with the PSG coach indicating in April that he would file for defamation against Fournier, Molina and a journalist at RMC. 

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"I am deeply shocked by the comments attributed to me and which have been relayed by some in an irresponsible way," he said at the time.

"They hit me in the depths of my humanity. I am a child of a low-income housing estate, raised in diversity and the values ​​of sharing and respect for others, whatever their origin, colour or religion."

Galtier remains PSG coach, but is set to be replaced imminently by Spain's Luis Enrique.

In April, PSG said: "The club supports Christophe Galtier after the numerous and unacceptable threats he has received and now wants the truth to be established by justice."

Nice said that the issue concerned individuals who no longer worked for the club, but that "this situation was treated with the utmost seriousness at the time of the events". 

Several Nice staff members and club officials have been interviewed by police as part of the investigation. 

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