By Matt Foster, CNN
(CNN) — Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) coach Christophe Galtier is to stand trial in Nice, France, over allegations of psychological harassment and racial discrimination, according to the public prosecutor involved in the case.
Xavier Bonhomme, the prosecutor for the judicial court in Nice, tweeted a photo of the office’s press release relating to the matter on Friday. The trial is set for December 15.
The prosecutor’s press release noted that his office opened a preliminary investigation into Galtier and his son, John Valovic, following press reports in April that Galtier allegedly made statements that there were too many Black and Muslim players on the team.
According to the press release, as a result of searches and interviews, Galtier and Valovic were placed in police custody on Friday and had hearings with the investigators. Prosecutors say the two men have denied the offenses.
Prosecutors in Nice say that the preliminary investigation involved interviews with Nice players during Galtier’s tenure, as well as directors and staff members at the club.
Valovic was not charged and was released following the hearings as he had no official role at Nice.
CNN reached out to Galtier’s representation and PSG for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
In an April statement issued by Galtier’s lawyer, the coach “firmly denies” the allegations, describing them as “insulting and defamatory.” Galtier’s lawyer, Olivier Martin, announced at the time the immediate opening of “the necessary legal proceedings” in the statement.
The prosecutor’s press release discusses a 2022 interview with Julien Fournier, the former sporting director of Galtier’s previous club OGC Nice, where Fournier told journalist Julien Absalon that, “If I explain the real reasons we (Fournier and Galtier) argued, he would never work in a locker room in France or Europe again.”
The statement goes on to discuss the widespread media coverage in April of a series of leaked emails from Fournier to Dave Brailsford, a director at INEOS, which owns the club.
The press release states that the emails from Fournier describe a meeting with Galtier’s son, John Valovic, who was presented as the coach’s agent. In that meeting, Valovic allegedly expressed Galtier’s complaints over the Nice squad having “too many Black and Muslim” players in the team, which meant it did not suit “the reality” of the city.
Prosecutors say the maximum punishment Galtier could face if found guilty of psychological harassment and racial discrimination is a three year prison sentence and a €45,000 fine (around $49,000)
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