Nice’s Atal handed 7-game ban for anti-Semitic social media postings

October 26 – Nice’s Algerian international Youcef Atal has been banned for seven matches by French football authorities  for sharing an anti-Semitic message on social media relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Nice had already suspended Atal last week until further notice on charges of “defending terrorism” even though he had quickly deleted the post and message and said that he apologised for his actions.

After the matter was reviewed by the French football federation’s ethics committee, the French league (LFP) banned Atal from October 31

“OGC Nice understands that the player has acknowledged his error by quickly withdrawing the sharing of the publication and has offered a public apology in writing,” a statement from the Ligue 1 club read.

“Nevertheless, given the nature of the publication shared, and its seriousness, the club has taken the decision to take immediate disciplinary action against the player, prior to any action that may be taken by sporting and legal authorities.”

In his apology on Instagram, Atal had said: “I am aware that my post shocked many people, which wasn’t my intention, and I apologise. I want to clarify my point of view without any ambiguity: I strongly denounce all forms of violence, anywhere in the world, and I support all victims of violence.

“I would never support a message of hate. Peace is an ideal in which I strongly believe.”

The 27-year-old won the Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria in 2019 and on Monday played for his country in a friendly against Egypt in Abu Dhabi.

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