PSG coach Christophe Galtier, son arrested in racism probe

Paris Saint-Germain's French head coach Christophe Galtier holds a press conference at the club's "Camp des Loges" training grounds in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, northwest of Paris on 19 May, 2023AFP

Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier was held for questioning along with his son as part of a probe into alleged discrimination, the Nice prosecutor told AFP on Friday.

The move follows an investigation launched in April, following claims he made racist and Islamophobic remarks about players when he coached Nice in the 2021/22 season.

The prosecutor said they would provide more information on the arrests of 56-year-old Galtier and his son John Valovic-Galtier -- a player's agent -- via a statement later on Friday.

Galtier, guided PSG to their 11th league title last season, but was told at the beginning of June by the club's Qatari owners he would be fired after a largely underwhelming season in which PSG suffered 10 defeats in 2023, exiting the Champions League, the team's main objective, in the last 16.

The allegations first surfaced in the French media in April.

The reports alleged that ex-Nice sporting director Julien Fournier had written an email at the end of the 2021/22 season in which he claimed Galtier had made discriminatory remarks towards several members of the Nice squad.

"He (Galtier) told me that I should take account of the reality of the city and that in effect we should not have as many blacks and Muslims in the team," claimed Fournier, whose relationship with Galtier was a fraught one.

"He told me he wanted to profoundly change the team's make-up and limit the maximum number of Muslims."

Galtier said he was "deeply shocked by the claims" and denied the allegations. He launched a defamation suit and for having received death threats against two journalists and Fournier.

Judicial enquiry

Fournier indicated to AFP on 22 May he had been questioned as part of the judicial enquiry without giving any further details.

Several players and directors, including the club president Jean-Pierre Rivere, and former coach Didier Digard were also questioned by investigators.

The message was reportedly sent by Fournier -- whose relationship with Galtier was tense -- to Dave Brailsford, the former head of British Cycling and Team Sky now the Director of Sport at Ineos, the owners of Nice.

Galtier and Fournier both left Nice last year after working together at the club for one season, with the former being appointed by PSG.

Galtier -- a former no nonsense defender who played most of his career at Marseille where he was born -- had enjoyed until now a highly successful career as a coach.

He began with St Etienne before taking on Lille and guiding them to the 2021 Ligue 1 crown but moved on to Nice soon afterwards.

He took them to the French Cup final in 2022 -- where they lost to Nantes -- but he could not resist the challenge of succeeding in securing the Champions League trophy when PSG came calling last year.

However, despite having the troika of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the team once again PSG fell short and Galtier's fate was sealed.