NICE, France (AP) — The French soccer league suspended Nice defender Youcef Atal for seven matches on Wednesday after he shared an antisemitic message on social media.
Nice had already suspended Atal last week until further notice and said that he apologized for his actions. After the matter was reviewed by the French soccer federation’s ethics committee, the French league’s disciplinary commission suspended Atal.
Atal’s suspension comes after the Nice public prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation targeting Atal on charges “of defending terrorism” for sharing the message online. The prosecutor’s office said Atal is also being investigated for “public incitement to hatred or violence because of a particular religion.”
The 27-year-old Atal, who also plays for Algeria’s national team, apologized after reportedly reposting and then deleting a video in which a Palestinian preacher made an antisemitic statement.
Writing on Instagram, Atal said he understood that his post was shocking to some people and said he condemns all forms of violence, “no matter where in the world.”
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