Paris Saint-Germain manager Christophe Galtier said he was “extremely shocked” by the racism allegations made against him this week and announced that he was taking legal action against the people who made the claims.
Earlier this week, reports quoted 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.
Speaking in his Friday news conference, Galtier defiantly denied the claims and said he will attempt to clear his name.
“I have been extremely shocked by the allegations that some people have irresponsibly made and relayed,” Galtier said while reading a written statement. “These allegations hurt me in the deepest part of my being.
“I am a child who grew up in a council estate, in a melting pot with values of sharing and respect for others, regardless of their origins or religion. All my life and career has been guided by the the wellbeing and sharing with others.
“I cannot accept that my name and my family could be tarnished in this way. So I have decided to take legal action against anyone damaging my reputation. I trust our legal system and I also welcome the start of a legal proceeding this morning with serenity. I will not make anymore comments on this matter.”
Before the start of the news conference, PSG, via a statement read by their director of communications, backed their manager and asked for justice to be done.
Asked if he felt he was the victim of a vendetta, he said: “I cannot answer this question” before leaving.
Galtier, via his lawyer, is suing Fournier as well as two French journalists who leaked the emails written by Fournier to Sir Dave Brailsford, the head of Sport at Ineos, the company who owns Nice.
Meanwhile Nice’s public prosecutor confirmed on Friday that an investigation had been opened following the allegation based on racial and religious discrimination.
ESPN was told that police carried out searches at the Nice training ground and at the club’s offices on Friday morning.
PSG will look to extend their lead at the top of the table when they host Lens on Saturday at the Parc des Princes with only six points separating the two sides.
Galtier added he didn’t address the incident with the PSG squad and his focus was on the game.
“It was a tough week to prepare for this game,” he said. “But I went into work mode and focus on the preparations for the game. I didn’t address the incident with my players but they gave me the best response with their full commitment at training.”