Four Chelsea fans have been banned from attending all football matches for five years after being found guilty of racial abuse on the Paris Metro.
Richard Barklie, 50, was filmed as part of group that stopped a black commuter from boarding a train shortly before Chelsea’s Champions League tie away at PSG last February. The group, which included Josh Parsons, 20, William Simpson, 26 and Jordan Munday, 30, is then heard singing racist songs. Mr Parsons and Mr Simpson were also given five year bans while Mr Munday was banned for three years.
The incident caused outrage throughout European football, and it did significant damage to Chelsea’s image. Mr Barklie, a former police officer in Northern Ireland, now a Human Rights activist, claimed that he was defending himself when he pushed the victim, Souleymane Sylla, off the carriage and denied singing racist songs outright.
He told Statford Magistrates Court:
“Mr Sylla, and it’s my view, was the only one using aggression. From what I’ve seen and what I’ve viewed he was aggressively forcing himself into a space where there was none.
“I think he had tried to get on first and then he tried to get on again, but by that stage he was shouting.
It’s not clear here but I’ve seen other footage and it’s more clear he was shouting and there was spray coming from his mouth.
“I did push him – I put my hands up to stop him getting into the space where I was standing. From my perception there were others behind me trying to get towards Mr Sylla and I felt myself getting pushed forward by the momentum.”
In his summation, District Judge Gareth Branston said that football still had a problem with racism, and described the groups’ behavior as “nasty, abhorrent and arrogant”