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NICE, France (AP) — Christophe Galtier stood trial on Friday for accusations of racism during his time as coach of his former club Nice and said some of the comments he made during that period had been taken out of context or distorted.

If found guilty of psychological harassment and discrimination, the 57-year-old Galtier risks a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($49,000). After the one-day trial in Nice, a ruling will come at a later date.

Galtier denies accusations that he made racist and anti-Muslim comments when in charge of southern French club Nice from 2021-22, where he coached before taking charge of Paris Saint-Germain from 2022-23.

Earlier this year, several months into his job at PSG, RMC Sport and other French media published reports quoting a leaked email from former Nice director of football Julien Fournier to the club’s owners. It accused Galtier of saying there were too many Black and Muslim players in the squad. During his tenure at Nice, Galtier also allegedly said players should break their fast during Ramadan.

These allegations led to a preliminary investigation being opened by Nice prosecutor Xavier Bonhomme into “discrimination on the grounds of alleged race or religion” and searches of the Nice headquarters.

Fournier allegedly said that Galtier specifically complained in August 2021 that Nice had too many Black and Muslim players and that it did not reflect the ethnological profile of the city.

Speaking at the courtroom on Friday, Galtier said those comments were not made by him but actually addressed to him by three people in a restaurant in Nice, in August 2021.

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“I’m in the restaurant and three people come up and speak to me about the composition of the team. The comments made are racist comments,” RMC reported Galtier as saying. “I’m shocked and concerned.”

Galtier told the courtroom that he then informed Fournier and assistant coach Frédéric Gioria about the incident. Galtier also denied an allegation made by Gioria that he used a derogatory term to describe Algerian players Hicham Boudaoui and Youcef Atal.

Galtier also denied a claim that he had dropped Algerian forward Billal Brahimi from his squad because he was fasting during Ramadan. He pointed out that he had not selected Brahimi in the previous match, either, which was not held during Ramadan.

Galtier added that Fournier had falsely informed defender Jean-Clair Todibo — who is Muslim — that Galtier made an insulting comment about Todibo in his office. Galtier also accused Gioria of being “the most racist person I’ve ever met in soccer.”

Galtier led PSG to the French league title last season, but PSG was eliminated early in the Champions League and he was sacked in July and replaced by former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.

Galtier now coaches Al-Duhail in the Qatar Stars League.

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Nicolas Vaux-Montagny in Lyon contributed.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer



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Felecia Phillips Ollie DD (h.c.) is the inspiring leader and founder of The Equality Network LLC (TEN). With a background in coaching, travel, and a career in news, Felecia brings a unique perspective to promoting diversity and inclusion. Holding a Bachelor's Degree in English/Communications, she is passionate about creating a more inclusive future. From graduating from Mississippi Valley State University to leading initiatives like the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Equal Employment Opportunity Program, Felecia is dedicated to making a positive impact. Join her journey on our blog as she shares insights and leads the charge for equity through The Equality Network.

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