The Nice public prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation Monday targeting football player Youcef Atal on charges “of defending terrorism” after he shared an antisemitic message on social media.
The prosecutor’s office said Atal is also being investigated for “public incitement to hatred or violence because of a particular religion.” Atal, who plays for French league club Nice and the Algeria national team, apologized after reportedly reposting and then deleting a video in which a Palestinian preacher made an antisemitic statement.
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French Football Federation President Philippe Diallo said Atal had relayed “appeals for violence.” Diallo said in a statement that he “condemns them with the greatest severity” and that the case will be handled by the federation’s ethics committee.
Writing on Instagram, the defender said he understood that his post “shocked several people, which was not my intention.” Atal also said he condemns all forms of violence, “no matter where in the world.”