Bernard Casoni, Orléans coach, targeted by an internal club investigation after accusations of racism

Justice has decided to enter the field

Bernard Casoni, Orléans coach, targeted by an internal club investigation after accusations of racism

Justice has decided to enter the field. The Orléans prosecutor, Emmanuelle Bochenek-Puren, confirmed to AFP on Tuesday the opening of a preliminary investigation targeting Bernard Casoni, the coach of the Union sportif Orléans Loiret football (USO), which plays in the National, the third French division, for incitement to hatred or racial discrimination and for public insults of a racist nature.

On the evening of Monday October 9, the club announced the opening of an internal investigation after the former international player was accused by France Bleu Orléans of having made racist remarks. A decision taken “without delay”, “in view of the seriousness of the facts invoked”, explained the USO in a press release, specifying that it “will not make any further comment on this situation before the result of this investigation”.

According to France Bleu Orléans, at least five players from the club heard Bernard Casoni, 62, make racist remarks. This is confirmed by several members of the training management and local radio journalists, certain comments having been made during a press conference. Another damning testimony, cited by the antenna, mentions a request from Mr. Casoni to “whitewash” the workforce he manages.

On September 21, on the eve of a match between the USO and Châteauroux, in response to a question about his team's difficulties, the coach said: “[The players] have things where they excel. But there are things where it is not enough. This is where you have to be more efficient, where you have to erase that. My role is to tell them, show them and help them solve problems. That's it that's all. I’ve done it in all the clubs I’ve been to, I’ve done it with North Africans! They're no more stupid than North Africans, eh... I mean, that's the role of a coach. »

“No need for pinafores for them, they’re already black.”

The radio also reports the anonymous testimony of a player, confirmed by another, about a scene which took place in August, during training. “We were doing a drill where two teams play five-on-five. My team consisted entirely of players of color. There, the coach says: “No need for bibs for them, they are already black”, supposedly in a humorous tone. It shocked me. »

On the radio, the Orléans coach refutes these accusations. “My statement about the Maghrebs at a press conference is to tell my players that they are as intelligent as the Maghrebs,” says Bernard Casoni. I worked there for six years and you think I’m racist? » The former OM and Blues player also denies having “asked to whitewash the squad”.

“I just want there to be a balance in the team,” replies Casoni. A community should not be over-represented. If there are too many hoops, it's not good. The same if there are too many Africans or too many whites. » Concerning the episode of the chasubles, the coach justifies himself as follows: “It’s chambering! I'm a guy from the South, it's football, it's just chambering. Today, we can no longer say anything. »

Bernard Casoni has been coach of US Orléans since June. As a player, he won the Champions League with Marseille in 1993, and was capped thirty times for the French team. Having become a coach, he took Evian Thonon Gaillard FC (which has since become Thonon Evian Grand Genève FC) up from National to Ligue 2, then from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, between 2010 and 2012. Orléans currently occupies 17th and before last place in the National ranking.