PSG coach Christophe Galtier's sarcastic response when asked why his squad had flown from Paris to Nantes, a 2-hour train journey, prompted an angry backlash.
In the wake of his sarcastic comments on private jets on Monday, Paris Saint-Germain's coach Christophe Galtier says he regrets his words — but still refused to say sorry.
"I don't have to apologise. It was a joke in bad taste," Galtier reiterated to the press after his side's 2-1 victory against Juventus in their opening Champions League game.
Both Galtier and French football star Kylian Mbappé, who was sitting beside his coach laughing on Monday, sparked a heated debate in France over their response to a question about using private jets to travel to games.
Galtier, asked about the club's choice of taking the plane rather than the train to go to Nantes over the weekend, chose irony over sensibility.
Nantes is only two hours from the French capital on a high-speed TGV train.
"This morning, we discussed with the company with which we sort our travel to know if we could not travel by sand yacht," Galtier said at a press conference.
The backlash was immediate. Activists of the environmental protection NGO Greenpeace protested outside the Parc des Princes on Tuesday before Tuesday's match.
Politicians weighed in on Tuesday, condemning PSG for being out of touch at a time when Europe faces an energy crisis and spiralling temperatures linked to climate change.
"We are here to question PSG and Christophe Galtier who made fun of climate issues during his press conference," said Jean-François Julliard, director general of Greenpeace. "So symbolically we took him at his word because we brought a float in front of the Parc des Princes today before the match against Juventus. We're trying to make PSG officials aware that we can no longer make fun of the climate crisis with impunity."
After PSG’s 2-1 win against Juventus, Galtier insisted that the club takes climate issues very seriously.