Ex-Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny denies allegations of racism in retirement post
Koscielny announced his retirement from football on Saturday
Former Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has denied allegations of racist behaviour from Bordeaux's ultras group as he announced his retirement from football.
Koscielny, who made over 300 appearances during his time at the Emirates Stadium, has called time on his career just two months after leaving French strugglers Bordeaux.
The 36-year-old was frozen out of the relegation-threatened side towards the end of his spell with them, with Bordeaux's ultras group UB87 accusing the defender and teammate Benoit Costil of lacking leadership and "scandalous, sometimes racist behaviour" in a statement on Twitter, as reported by Sud Ouest.
Communiqué, 23 mars 2022.
A nos adhérents, à notre tribune, aux supporters et supportrices des Girondins. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/2jrn0jENlX
— Ultramarines 1987 (@ub87officiel) March 23, 2022
What did Koscielny say?
The former France international has, however, strongly refuted those claims in his retirement post and said that he was left "surprised, shocked and saddened" by what had been said.
His statement, released by Foot Mercato, read: "Following the article published in the Sud Ouest newspaper on March 22, 2022 entitled 'Girondins de Bordeaux. Costil and Koscielny, accusations of racism that shake', Laurent Koscielny 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 now echoing.
"Without there being any ambiguity, he strongly disputes these accusations which have seriously [damaged] him and which have repercussions on his family and those around him.
"In this regard, Laurent Koscielny underlines that the investigative work of the Sud Ouest newspaper which solicited more than thirty people (according to the journalist's statements) who formally denied the alleged racist behaviour of Laurent Koscielny.
"As a reminder, if Laurent Koscielny has not been part of the professional staff of the club since the end of January 2022, he recalls that he is still an employee of the Girondins de Bordeaux.
"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 was in difficulty, he accepted the proposal made to occupy a new [role] and to release [his] salary [as] proof of the concern he has 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 commanded the respect of all of 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 recalled in its press release that 'no document aimed at supporting these allegations has been brought to the attention of the Club, which in principle intends to exercise the greatest caution'."