Nice Temporarily Bans Defender Youcef Atal Over Suspected Anti-Semitic Post

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Nice Temporarily Bans Defender Youcef Atal Over Suspected Anti-Semitic Post

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Youcef Atal, aged 27, was summoned for a meeting with the club’s leadership upon his return from international duty with the Algerian national team, during which he had made the mentioned post.

Ligue 1 side Nice suspended Algerian international Youcef Atal “until further notice” on Wednesday after he shared a contentious post on social media related to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. Despite his prompt deletion of the post and issuing an apology, the club, in a press release, cited the “seriousness” of the post as the reason for taking immediate disciplinary action, preempting any potential actions by sporting and legal authorities. Furthermore, French prosecutors initiated a preliminary investigation into Atal on suspicion of “glorifying terrorism.”

Atal, aged 27, was subsequently called in for a meeting with the club’s leadership following his return from international duty with Algeria, during which he had made the post.

The club emphasized that the reputation and unity of OGC Nice rely on the behavior of all its employees, requiring adherence to the values upheld by the institution, and reaffirmed its commitment to promoting peace over other considerations. Atal has faced widespread criticism for sharing a video from a Palestinian preacher on Instagram, which was seen as purportedly advocating violence against Jewish people.

Football officials, politicians, a Jewish organization, and the mayor of Nice have all expressed strong disapproval of the message. Youssouf Atal, the football player, deleted the post and later apologized. AFP has not been able to independently verify the content of the original post.

France, which is home to significant Jewish and Muslim populations, increased security measures following a major attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7. The country also raised its alert level for potential threats after a teacher was stabbed to death by a former pupil, an incident described by politicians as Islamist terrorism.

The prosecutor’s office in Nice confirmed that it is investigating Atal under laws related to the ‘glorification of terrorism,’ following a notification from local politicians. Police will also assess if the post could be considered incitement to religious hatred or violence.

The South East branch of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) filed a complaint against the player on Tuesday. The French Football Federation (FFF) had previously stated that its ethics committee would investigate the player.

In response to the criticism, Youssouf Atal told his Instagram followers that he would ‘never support a message of hate’ without providing an explanation for sharing the video.

Reference:

https://sports.ndtv.com/football/nice-suspend-defender-youcef-atal-for-alleged-anti-semitic-post-4493223

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