Ligue 1 group Youcef Atal, a player for Algeria, was suspended by Nice on Wednesday “until further notice” after he posted a contentious statement on social media regarding the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
Despite the fact that he swiftly removed the post and apologized, the club announced in a press release that it was taking immediate disciplinary action “prior to any action that may be taken by the sporting and legal authorities” because of the “seriousness” of the post.
Following his return from international duty with Algeria, during which time he was promoted to the position, Atal, 27, was summoned to a meeting with the club administration.
The club also stated its “firm commitment to ensuring that peace prevails over all other considerations,” adding, “We would like to emphasize that the reputation and unity of OGC Nice depends on the behavior of all of its employees, who must be in accordance with the values defended by the institution.”
Since Saturday, Atal has been under heavy fire for posting a video from a Palestinian preacher on Instagram that appeared to incite for violence against Jews.
The comment, which Atal erased before apologizing, has been criticised by football officials, lawmakers, a Jewish organization, and the mayor of Nice.
The original post’s substance could not be independently verified by AFP.
After Hamas launched a huge onslaught on Israel on October 7, France, which has sizable Jewish and Muslim communities, tightened security.
Following the fatal stabbing of a teacher by a former student on Friday, which politicians have characterized as an act of Islamist terrorism, officials have increased security across the nation in preparation for possible assaults.
Following notification from local legislators, the Nice prosecutor’s office declared in a statement that it was looking into Atal for violating the “glorification of terrorism” legislation.
Police would determine if the post amounted to inciting religious hatred or violence, according to the prosecutors.
On Tuesday, the player was the target of a complaint from the South East region of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF).
The French Football Federation (FFF), which announced on Sunday that its ethics committee will look into the player, has not responded.
Without elaborating on his motivation for sharing the video, Atal responded to the criticism by promising to “never support a message of hate” to his Instagram followers.