Algeria defender Youcef Atal has joined Adana Demirspor from Nice after being given an eight-month suspended sentence for inciting religious hatred in a social media post.
Atal was suspended by French club Nice in October over a post relating to the Israel-Gaza war that was widely condemned for being offensive towards Jewish people.
The 27-year-old deleted the post and apologised, but after the Nice public prosecutor’s office launched an investigation, he appeared in court in December on charges of “inciting hatred on religious grounds”. As well as an eight-month suspended sentence, Nice’s criminal court handed Atal a €45,000 (£38,837) fine.
He has not been involved in a Nice squad since a win over Metz on October 7, where he was an unused substitute, and a move to Turkish Super Lig side Adana Demirspor has now been confirmed.
An Adana Demirspor statement read: “Our club has reached an agreement with Youcef Atal for the right-back position. Welcome to our family.”
The defender represented Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations in January, starting all three of his country’s matches as they exited at the group stage.
Atal had spent five-and-a-half years at Nice after signing from Algerian side Paradou AC in 2018.
He had been given a seven-match suspension by the French Football Association (LFP) following his social media post, which came into force from October 31. Nice confirmed their own suspension for the full-back on October 18.
Nice had said at the time that they spoke to Atal as soon as he returned from international duty with Algeria.
“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 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.”
(Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)