French soccer coach arrested amid probe of claims he made racist, anti-Muslim remarks about his players: Report

A French soccer coach was arrested amid an investigation of allegations that he made racist, anti-Muslim remarks about his players, Agence France-Presse reported.

AFP in its Friday headline called the action against Christophe Galtier an arrest. Reuters also called it an arrest, citing the AFP in its headline.

Nice’s prosecutor on Friday said Galtier and his son were held for questioning as part of a probe into alleged discrimination, AFP added. Nice’s prosector is Xavier Bonhomme.

Galtier — who presently coaches the Paris Saint-Germain team — denied accusations he made racist and anti-Muslim comments when he coached the Nice club, the Associated Press reported.

What are the details?

RMC Sport and other French media outlets earlier this year published reports quoting a leaked email from former Nice director of football Julien Fournier to the team’s owners in which Fournier accused Galtier of saying there were too many black and Muslim players on the team, the AP said.

In addition, Fournier allegedly said Galtier complained in August 2021 that the number of black and Muslim players on the squad didn’t match the city’s ethnic profile, the AP said, adding that Fournier told local newspaper Nice-Matin he wasn’t responsible for the leaked email.

Galtier said the accusations hurt him “at the deepest level” and took legal action, the AP added. Galtier filed a legal complaint for “insulting and defamatory remarks,” the Athletic reported, adding that Galtier’s son also denied the allegations.

More from the AP:

Bonhomme said at the time a preliminary investigation had been opened into “discrimination on the grounds of alleged race or religion.” He said it was being handled by Nice police with searches of the club’s headquarters.

PSG head of communications Julien Maynard said “serious allegations” had been made against Galtier and that the club fully supported him.

Discrimination law in France

If Galtier’s reported arrest amid allegations of discrimination seems extreme, a recent U.S. government summary of French human rights practices notes the following:

The country’s laws protect members of racial or ethnic minorities or groups from violence and discrimination, and the government generally enforced them effectively. The criminal code punishes the authors of violence committed against individuals, and the penalties are increased when they have been committed for racial and ethnic reasons.

A law professor also noted that an “important difference between French and American anti-discrimination law is the predominance of criminal sanctions for discrimination in France, whereas in the United States, remedies for discriminatory conduct are solely civil. While civil remedies are also available under French law, the norm against discrimination is enforced primarily in criminal proceedings pursuant to the Penal Code’s prohibition of discrimination.”

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