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French side OGC Nice and the club's manager Christophe Galtier has strongly condemned their own supporters after a sickening chant about the late Emiliano Sala was heard during their clash against Saint-Etienne.
Argentine forward Sala, 28, passed away in a plane crash in January 2019 while on route to Cardiff from Nantes. He was about to complete a £15 million move to the club.
Three years on and after Nice lost the French Cup final to Nantes at the weekend, a chant mocking Sala was heard from the stands as Christophe Galtier's side came up against Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1.
Fans of Sala's former clubs – Nantes and Bordeaux – regularly applaud in the ninth minute to pay tribute to the Argentine as that was his shirt number.
They sing the words: "He's an Argentine, who never gives up, Emiliano Sala."
Nantes fans paying tribute to Emiliano Sala at the ninth minute of the Coupe de France final. Eternal. 💛💚 pic.twitter.com/6k5IGo7dMD— Toto (@totoscrib) May 8, 2022
But on Wednesday night, the chant: "He's an Argentine who can't swim well, Emiliano under water," was heard in the ninth minute of the game, according to the Daily Mail.
After the full-time whistle, Nice manager Christophe Galtier said society is "really in the sh**" after he condemned the chants.
"I have no words to describe what we heard," he said.
"One of the first reactions in the dressing room was not chanting or cries of joy, or relief (after winning the game 4-2). It was to speak about what the players had heard.
"In the name of my dressing room, of my technical and medical staff, from the players, we would like to offer our apologies to Emiliano Sala's family and to Nantes.
"You hear a lot of things in stadiums, but these people – and there weren't just three of them – if they're not happy, they can come to the training ground and I'll say the same thing to them.
"We often say that what we see in stadiums is a reflection of society. If that's what our society is, we are really in the s***.
"It's surreal for me. I have no words. They need to stay at home. You cannot hear that in a stadium. If they're coming to insult the dead, then they can stay at home."
Certain Nice fans with a shocking chant on Emiliano Sala a few days after they lost the cup final to Nantes:— Get French Football News (@GFFN) May 11, 2022
"He's an Argentine, who can't swim well, Emiliano under the water [sous l'eau]." (via RMC)
OGC Nice have since released a statement. "Nice condemns in the strongest possible sense the chant about Emiliano Sala heard on Wednesday evening at the Allianz Riviera," the club said.
"The club does not recognise its values or those of the entire red and black family in this unthinkable and abject provocation by a minority of its supporters.
"OGC Nice sends its support to the family and friends of Emiliano Sala."
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