Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea fans racist chant claims: Former RUC man in court to battle soccer ban

By Neil Lancefield

A former RUC officer suspected of involvement in an incident in Paris in which a black man was prevented from boarding a train has appeared in a London court.

Richard Barklie of Victoria Street, Carrickfergus, was one of five Chelsea supporters set to fight applications to impose football banning orders.

Controversy erupted when fans were filmed singing racist chants and refusing to let the man on the Paris Metro train ahead of the west London club's match against Paris St Germain last month.

Several Chelsea supporters chanted: "We're racist, we're racist and that's the way we like it."

The Metropolitan Police are applying for football banning orders to be imposed on five men who they believe were involved.

All attended Waltham Forest Magistrates Court in north-east London for a preliminary hearing yesterday.

As well as Mr Barklie, they are: Dean Callis (32), of Liverpool Road, Islington, north London; Jordan Munday (20), of Ellenborough Road, Sidcup, south-east London; Josh Parsons (20), of Woodhouse Place, Dorking and William Simpson (26), of Hengrove Crescent, Ashford, Surrey.

Prosecutor Ian Rees Phillips told the court, which was packed with legal representatives and reporters from the UK and France, that the five men opposed the implementation of the banning orders.

He said that video footage would be used as part of the case, as well as evidence from the black man pushed away from the train.

District Judge Mary Connolly said the orders would involve severe restrictions to civil liberties. They are designed as a preventative measure to stop potential troublemakers travelling to football matches at home and abroad for three to five years.

The French commuter kept off the train, Souleymane S, said the incident "destroyed" him and left him unable to work or travel on public transport. He said his children had been left "traumatised" by reports of what happened and that he had become depressed.

The five respondents were smartly dressed in suits as they sat in the court for the short hearing.

Barklie (50) has previously apologised for his involvement in the incident on February 17.

The ex-RUC and PSNI officer insisted he was not a racist.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said the club was "appalled" by the racial abuse, and owner Roman Abramovich was "disgusted".

And a statement issued by lawyers on behalf of Munday outside court said: "He adamantly denies being involved in any racist chanting and there is no evidence that he was.

"We question why the Metropolitan Police Service has chosen to become involved in an incident which occurred in another European country, and only after the football fans have returned to the UK, particularly in view of the fact we are aware that football officers from the Metropolitan Police Service were on the Metro train in question."

The case was adjourned for an administrative hearing at Thames Magistrates Court, east London, on June 5.

The full hearing is expected to last two days and will take place at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court on July 15 and 16.

Quotes

"He did not participate in racist chanting and singing and condemns any behaviour supporting that. He accepts he was involved in an incident when a person now known to him as Souleymane S was unable to enter a part of the train. He has an account to give to police which will explain the context and circumstances as they prevailed at that time."

Legal representative for Richard Barklie after his arrest

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph