Ligue 1 player Youcef Atal suspended by OGC Nice for pro-Palestinian messages: Report

Ligue 1 club suspends their player for posting pro-Palestinian content.


Ligue 1 player Youcef Atal suspended by OGC Nice for pro-Palestinian messages: Report

OGC Nice suspends Youcef Atal. (Via X/@FabrizioRomano)

Recently, a Ligue 1 player has been subject to scrutiny for his show of support for Palestine. Youcef Atal, a 27-year-old right-back has faced sanctions by OGC Nice and the French League (LFP). His ‘controversial’ Instagram story has then been deleted by the player, who had also apologized for the same. Nice initially suspended the player following the post. 

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The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza has given rise to much controversy in the footballing world as many celebs and athletes are rising up against the bombings from Israel on the Palestinian enclave.

Several clubs, like OGC Nice, have censured their players for voicing their options and/or posting sensitive content that favors or is against either side. Players like Mainz’s Anwar El Ghazi and Bayern Munich’s Noussair Mazraoui have also faced repercussions for posting pro-Palestinian messages on their personal accounts. 

However, after a review by the French Football Federation, an ethics committee heavily sanctioned Youcef Atal. His suspension at OGC Nice has been extended to 7 matches.

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Writing on Instagram Story, Atal said:

No matter where in the world, I condemn violence.

The French prosecution also clamped down on Atal on suspicion of “glorifying t*rrorism,” pointing to a video of a ‘preacher inciting violence’. Atal responded to the same, saying that while he understood that his post might have sent a wrong message but no matter where in the world he condemns violence.

Celtic fans display their support for Palestine during the UCL match

Players and clubs are being sanctioned for their outright support of Palestine. During a time like this, fans of Scottish club Celtic have set a precedent for the world. Earlier the club announced that players and staff of both teams will wear black armbands in support of the victims of the conflict. However, the club, as well as UEFA had specified that fans should ‘refrain themselves’ from displays- flags, banners, etc.- of support. 

Celtic fans holding Palestine flags and banners to show their solidarity.
Celtic fans hold Palestine flags and banners to show their solidarity. (Via X/@CelticUTD)

Fans of the club completely disregarded this warning. Prior to the game, thousands of Palestinian flags were waved in support. This continued throughout the match as well. Fans in the North stand even prepared a choreographed tifo of the Palestinian flag, behind the home team’s goalpost in the first half. 

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In a spectacular video, the crowd is captured chanting pro-Palestinian slogans, and waving thousands of smaller flags. Moreover, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” was playing in the background. Celtic Ultras, named Green Brigade, asked the home fans to defy the club’s directives and display their support for Palestine. The incident has since then gone viral on social media.

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