After posting an anti-Semitic comment on social media on Wednesday, French soccer team Nice suspended defender Youcef Atal indefinitely. Nice claimed in a statement that it had spoken with Atal about the problem and that he had expressed regret.
According to Nice, “the player acknowledged his error by promptly withdrawing the publication from sharing and has offered a written and public apology.” “Despite this, the club has decided to initiate the first disciplinary proceedings against the player right away, prior to any action that may be taken by sporting and legal authorities, considering the sensitivity and nature of the publication disseminated.
The club has therefore decided to put Youcef Atal on indefinite leave.
Anwar El Ghazi, a Dutch attacker, was suspended by Bundesliga club Mainz in Germany for making what was deemed to be an “unacceptable” social media remark regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Atal’s suspension follows the opening of a preliminary inquiry by the Nice public prosecutor’s office on Monday into Atal on suspicion of “defending terrorism” for posting the remark online. Atal is also under investigation, according to the prosecutor’s office, for “public incitement to hatred or violence because of a particular religion.”
The 27-year-old Atal, who also represents Algeria at the international level, issued an apology after it was claimed that he had shared and then removed a video in which a Palestinian preacher made an antisemitic remark.
The head of the French Soccer Federation, Philippe Diallo, stated that Atal had relayed “appeals for violence” and that the federation’s ethics committee would be reviewing the situation. In a message on Instagram, Atal expressed his understanding that some people found his post alarming and his condemnation of all types of violence, “no matter where in the world.”