PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier vehemently denied accusations that he made racist and anti-Muslim comments when he was in charge of French league club Nice, adding Wednesday that he would take legal action.
RMC Sport and other French media published reports quoting a leaked email from Nice’s former 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.
In a statement released by his lawyer to French media, Galtier said he was “stunned to learn of the insulting and defamatory” report and said he would take unspecified legal actions.
Meanwhile, a prominent group of PSG supporters called for Galtier’s departure if it can be proven that he made the alleged remarks.
“The Ultras Paris Collective is closely following the Galtier case. If the facts he is accused of are proven, it is not acceptable that this person remains in the organizational chart of the club,” the supporters group said in a statement. “We recall that we have always taken a stand against all forms of discrimination.”
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 French league club in 2019 and appointed Galtier as coach in 2021. He spent one season at Nice before joining PSG. Fournier also left the club in 2022 after more than a decade at the club.
In the leaked email to Brailsford, 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, which is located on the French Riviera.
Nice did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
Speaking from Brazil, Fournier told local newspaper Nice-Matin that he was not responsible for the leaked document.
“The timing of these revelations revolts me, just as much as their content,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Galtier is under pressure at PSG following his team’s poor run of form since the turn of the year. PSG suffered a second straight elimination in the last 16 of the Champions League in March and has seen its lead at the top of the French league standings cut to six points after losing five games in 2023.
Fournier had previously mentioned serious issues with Galtier during an interview with RMC, saying that the PSG coach would never be able “to enter a locker room again, neither in France nor in Europe” if he explained the reasons behind their dispute.