Angers SCO have parted ways with coach Abdel Bouhazama after downplaying sexual assault to players ahead of a 5-0 defeat away at Montpellier HSC over the weekend. The club announced the decision hours after inappropriate comments made in a prematch speech made to his players before the loss, according to L’Equipe. The team are bottom of Ligue 1 and winless in 17 games which includes 15 defeats but more shocking was the former tactician’s attempt to unite his players.
According to an unnamed Angers player in the report, Bouhazama said of Ilyes Chetti’s sexual assault allegations that, “it is nothing nasty. We have all touched girls before,” which left the squad incredulous.
“We were all stunned and without reaction upon hearing something like that,” the unnamed Angers player said, according to the report.
Chetti has reportedly previously admitted his guilt over the charges which the Algerian will go to court over and relate to a nightclub incident during the 2022 FIFA World Cup break.
Incredibly, the Angers press officer initially refuted the reports over what Bouhazama said before, hinting at them in their official release, only for the coach to later essentially confirm his comments himself though in much lighter terms.
“I also said that what my player did was wrong and that we all make mistakes,” he said.
It was only a few hours until Angers confirmed Bouhazama’s exit and cited it as a mutual decision with the club’s leadership.
SCO’s statement suggested that his departure had been on the cards since February and his recent comments had become increasingly fatalistic regarding Ligue 1 survival for the rock-bottom side.
Bouhazama cited “media pressure while the club clarified that it “unreservedly” condemned his comments before adding that it was “clumsiness” and that Bouhazama had apologized to staff and notably female colleagues.
Gerald Baticle was replaced as head coach by the former youth team coach who has had a number of run-ins with former players.
Angers are not in the best of periods and after a failed sale of the club, president Said Chabane is in legal trouble for inappropriate behavior while Farid El Melali was arrested and charged with public masturbation in recent years.