The 36-year-old has been accused of being ‘scandalous, sometimes racist’ by French club ultras
Former Arsenal and France star Laurent Koscielny has announced his retirement and issued a statement denying allegations of racist behavior made against him and a former Bordeaux ultras teammate.
Koscielny – who made 353 appearances for the Gunners and once managed them – spent the last two months of his career frozen at Bordeaux.
Alarmingly, their group of ultras UB87 accused him and his teammate Benoit Costil of “scandalous behavior, sometimes racist”and a lack of leadership as the club dropped to the bottom of the Ligue 1 table with just four wins from 29 games.
Koscielny said in a statement through his lawyer sent to the Sud Ouest newspaper that he was “surprised, shocked but also saddened by the remarks made by one of the representatives of the Ultramarines 87 Group against him, which the press is echoing today echo”.
The 36-year-old’s correspondence mentioned another Sud Ouest article dated March 22 which was titled: “Girondins de Bordeaux. Costil and Koscielny, accusations of racism that shake”, and said that, “without ambiguity”he “Strongly contests these accusations which have seriously [damaged] him and which have repercussions on his family and those around him”.
Koscielny pointed out “the investigative work of the Sud Ouest newspaper which solicited more than thirty people (according to the statements of the journalist) who formally denied the alleged racist behavior” UB87 accused him of it.
“As a reminder, if Laurent Koscielny has not been part of the club’s professional staff since the end of January 2022, he recalls that he is still an employee of the Girondins de Bordeaux.” the statement continued.
“On this point, Laurent Koscielny intends to specify that he has decided to hang up his [boots] when he would have preferred to help the club on the [pitch]. Aware that the club is in difficulty, he accepts the proposal made to occupy a new [role] and release [his] salary [as] proof of his concern for the best interests of the club.”
“As such, he would like to thank the club for the mark of confidence shown in him by entrusting him with this position. This mission is the extension of a career that has forged the respect of all his partners, coaches and staff that he has worked with both in the club and in the France team.
“Laurent Koscielny also shares the club’s position, which recalls in its press release that “no document aimed at supporting these allegations has been brought to the attention of the Club, which intends in principle to exercise the greatest caution”. statement completed.
Tensions between the ultras and Koscielny and Costil came to a head after a 2-0 defeat at Montpellier last Sunday.
Costil was booed throughout the match by the group, whose leader Florian Brunet was prevented by the stewards from reaching the keeper at half-time. During the second half, the cheers of “Costly, racist” were heard and UB87 later released a statement accusing Costil and Koscielny of “scandalous, sometimes racist” behviour.
Accusations of racism are said to come from two members of the club, one of whom was fired and another who is still on his books, and Costil is said to be planning to press charges against the ultras.
In an internal announcement, Bordeaux said the “insults” and “accusations” aiming Costil are “without evidence”, and Koscielny’s retreat now seems to have been hastened by them. Koscielny joined Bordeaux in 2019 when he left Arsenal and made 65 appearances for the Girondins.
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