Feb 24, 2015

    Chelsea fan sorry over Paris 'racist' incident


    A FORMER police officer and Chelsea fan apologised on Sunday for his involvement in an alleged racist incident involving football supporters on a Paris Metro train.

    Footage posted online last week showed supporters blocking a black man named as Souleymane S. from boarding a metro train in the French capital and chanting: "We're racist and that's the way we like it."

    Richard Barklie, 50, a director with rights group World Human Rights Forum, acknowledged that he was involved but insisted he is not a racist in a statement released by his lawyer.

    "He did not participate in racist chanting and singing, and condemns any behaviour supporting that," the statement from Belfast solicitor Kevin Winters said.

    "He wants to put on record his sincerest apologies for the trauma and stress suffered by Mr Souleymane."

    The incident ahead of last Tuesday's Champions League draw with Paris St Germain sparked widespread condemnation.

    Chelsea have promised to ban anyone proven to have been involved for life, while manager Jose Mourinho said the club were "appalled" by the fans' behaviour.

    Mr Barklie, a Chelsea season ticket holder, travelled alone to the match and does not know the other people shown in the video, the statement said.

    His work with communities in Africa and India, and experience in human rights "undermines any suggestion he is racist", it added.

    The statement was released after Scotland Yard showed images of the men it believed were among the group involved.

    A Metropolitan Police spokesman said on Sunday that the three men had been identified, and the police were liaising with the French authorities.

    None of the men sought by Scotland Yard has been arrested.

    The police spokesman said the police cannot arrest people for offences that take place outside britain, but "a number of people" have been spoken to in relation to the incident.

    Five people have so far been suspended from Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium following investigations into the incident, and the club are assisting the police in Britain and France.

    The British police are also seeking a group of men, believed to be Chelsea supporters, who were heard shouting racist chants at a St Pancras train station in London on Wednesday.

    The British Transport Police said that the group were reported by a member of the public, and were believed to have travelled back from the Paris match by train.