Algerian footballer Youcef Atal has been suspended by France’s Nice football club for reposting what was considered an anti-Jewish message related to the Israel-Palestine conflict on social media. This suspension came shortly after French prosecutors initiated a preliminary investigation into Atal on allegations of “glorifying terrorism,” based on complaints filed by local politicians. The investigation is centered around Atal sharing a video from a Palestinian preacher on Instagram that allegedly called for violence against Jewish people, a message he has since deleted. In addition to the terrorism-related probe, he is also being investigated for “public incitement to hatred or violence because of a particular religion.” The French Football Federation’s ethics committee is also looking into the matter.
Atal responded to the criticism by stating that he does not support messages of hate but did not explain why he shared the video. Despite his public apology, Nice decided to suspend him from the club, even though he had offered a written apology. Youcef Atal has been a player for Nice since 2018 and has made 117 appearances in various competitions.
In a similar incident, German club Mainz 05 suspended Dutch forward Anwar El Ghazi for what they considered an “unacceptable” social media post about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Bayern Munich is also facing pressure to address comments made by Moroccan player Noussair Mazraoui regarding the conflict. However, the consequences for Mazraoui are unclear at this time.
Fans have called for Tottenham Hotspur to take action against their Israeli winger, Manor Solomon, for posting inflammatory content on his Instagram account related to the conflict. However, the club has not commented on the matter yet.