The Paris Saint-Germain coach, Christophe Galtier, has been summoned to stand trial in December as part of an investigation into racism allegations at his former club Nice, a prosecutor said on Friday.
Galtier and his son, John Valovic-Galtier, were placed in custody for questioning on Friday morning. After his son was released without charge, Galtier was referred to the public prosecutor’s office. He will stand trial in Nice on 15 December on charges of psychological harassment and discrimination, the prosecutor Xavier Bonhomme posted on Twitter.
If found guilty, Galtier risks a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a fine of €45,000 euros (£38,700). The 56-year-old has denied accusations that he made racist and anti-Muslim comments while in charge of Nice when the scandal broke earlier this year.
The radio station RMC Sport and other French media published reports quoting a leaked email from the former Nice 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.
Galtier, who is expected to leave PSG this summer but is still under contract, said he felt hurt “at the deepest level” of his humanity by the accusations and has taken legal action.
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.
The PSG head of communications, Julien Maynard, said “serious allegations” had been made against Galtier and that the club fully supported him.
RMC Sport said Fournier, who was at odds with Galtier during his tenure at Nice, wrote to the Ineos director of sports, Sir Dave Brailsford, to let him know about the details of a conversation he had with the coach.
Ineos acquired the southern club in 2019 and appointed Galtier as coach in 2021 after he won the French title with Lille. He spent one season at Nice before joining PSG, while Fournier left Nice in 2022 after more than a decade at the club.
Fournier allegedly said Galtier complained in August 2021 that there were too many Black and Muslim players in the team, and that it did not reflect the ethnological profile of the city. Fournier told the local newspaper Nice-Matin that he was not responsible for the leaked document.
Fournier had previously mentioned serious issues with Galtier during an interview with RMC, saying the PSG coach would never be able “to enter a locker room again” if he explained the reasons behind their dispute.
The 56-year-old Galtier led PSG to another French league title as expected, but the team were eliminated early in the Champions League and from the French Cup by Marseille. The team’s form slumped after the World Cup, with 10 losses in 28 games in 2023, and fans turned on stars such as Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Galtier has one year left on his contract in Paris, but the club have reportedly been holding talks with the former Spain and Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique, to replace him in the coming days.