Chelsea fans to fight ban bid
Five Chelsea supporters suspected of involvement in an incident in Paris in which fans sang racist chants and a black man was prevented from boarding a train will fight applications to impose football banning orders, a court has heard.
Controversy erupted when fans were filmed on the Paris Metro 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 in the incident.
They all attended Waltham Forest Magistrates' Court in north east London for a preliminary hearing.
They are: Richard Barklie, 50, of Victoria Street, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland; 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, Surrey 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 from travelling to football matches at home and abroad for three to five years.
The French commuter kept off the train, Souleymane S, has 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 during the short hearing.
A statement issued by lawyers acting 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.
"Mr Munday now faces a football banning order application which he intends to contest. The effects of a civil football banning order are very draconian."
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.
Barklie, a former policeman, has previously apologised for his involvement on the night of the incident on February 17.
The ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland officer insisted he was not a racist person.
A spokesman for the law firm representing him said: "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 particular time."
A photograph emerged of finance worker Parsons posing with Ukip leader Nigel Farage, but the party denied that he was a member and claimed that it had never heard of him.
His manager at the Business and Commercial Finance Club in Mayfair said he faced disciplinary action at work if he was charged over the incident.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said the club was "appalled" by the racial abuse, adding that owner Roman Abramovich was also "disgusted".
An investigation revealed earlier this week that Chelsea supporters have been involved in the highest number of reported racist incidents as they travelled to and from matches on trains.
The British Transport Police told the Press Association that since 2012 it had dealt with 15 incidents of alleged racism involving Chelsea fans, the most of any club in the country.