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Chelsea FC gives life bans to fans in 'abhorrent' Paris Metro race incident

Published 22/07/2015

Richard Barklie admitted pushing a black commuter off a Paris Metro train
Richard Barklie admitted pushing a black commuter off a Paris Metro train

Five Chelsea fans who received lengthy bans from football matches after being caught up in the Paris Metro train race row have received lifetime bans from the club .

Frenchman Souleymane Sylla was subjected to racist chants and was pushed off a train carriage before Chelsea's Champions League match against Paris St Germain on February 17.

Video showed Mr Sylla repeatedly pushed backwards amid chants of "we're racist, we're racist, and that's the way we like it".

Human rights activist Richard Barklie, 50, former finance worker Josh Parsons, 20, and William Simpson, 26, were all today issued with football banning orders for five years for their role.

Fellow fan Jordan Munday, 20, was banned from football matches for three years.

A fifth man, Dean Callis, 32, of Islington, north London, earlier received a five-year banning order.

Following the verdicts at London's Stratford Magistrates' Court, Chelsea issued life bans against the five men.

The club said: "The behaviour of these five individuals was abhorrent, against all of the club's values and falls way below the standards the club expects of supporters attending our games.

"Therefore the club's bans permanently prohibit any of these individuals from attending Stamford Bridge or purchasing tickets from the club for any future matches."

It added: "Chelsea FC is proud of its diversity, which runs throughout the club - from our owner to our multi-cultural playing squad and backroom team, the staff and our fans.

Richard Barklie (circled) aboard the Paris train on which Chelsea fans subjected a man to racist abuse
Richard Barklie (circled) aboard the Paris train on which Chelsea fans subjected a man to racist abuse

"We are also proud to support the work of Kick it Out and Show Racism the Red Card, among other organisations, as well as the work of the Premier League, UEFA and the Football Association."

The court heard that Barklie, a former policeman in Northern Ireland and a director with the World Human Rights Forum, and Parsons were the ringleaders during the incident.

The four men had denied they were racist and claimed Mr Sylla was only pushed off the train because it was "packed", not because he is black.

But footage played to the court showed some of the men join in the racist chanting as the Parisian was pushed.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Sylla told how he was "violently" forced off the train as Chelsea fans jeered and one pointed to his skin colour.

He said: "I again approached the carriage, explaining to this person I wanted to get back on the train.

"He didn't seem to understand what I said to him, and other supporters behind him were shouting and singing in English. As I don't speak English, I didn't understand what they said.

"Another person made a sign indicating to the colour of the skin on his face."

Barklie admitted twice pushing Mr Sylla - but blamed the Parisian for using "aggression" and shouting as he tried to board.

But district judge Gareth Branston said Barklie joined in the racist chanting of "John Terry is a racist and that's the way we like it".

And he said the former policeman "proved to be a menace" and had "demonstrated aggressive, disorderly conduct".

Parsons, who used to work for a finance company in Mayfair and lives in Dorking, Surrey, leaned out of the train and shouted "where were you in World War Two?" and "F*** the IRA", the court heard.

The judge said Parsons displayed "aggressive and disorderly conduct as part of a pack of Chelsea fans".

Summing up the case, district judge Branston said: "This was abhorrent, nasty, offensive, arrogant and utterly unacceptable behaviour. It cannot be tolerated in a modern, civilised society. It needs to be stamped out.

"Those who succumb to a pack mentality and think they can act in such a hateful way as part of a mob should think again."

After the hearing, Barklie said he strongly disagreed with the judge's decision and was "considering an appeal".

The campaign group Kick It Out said the Paris incident "horrified" many supporters.

It added: "This whole episode has shone a very negative light on English football and acts as a serious reminder to anybody else contemplating starting or joining in with such chants or behaviour in the future."

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