One of the three Chelsea fans who prevented a black man from entering a Paris Metro train after the English club’s UEFA Champions League game against Paris Saint Germain last week has been identified as a human rights official.
Richard Barklie, who was part of the group chanting “we’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it” while blocking the man from entering the train, has released a statement through his lawyers admitting his wrongdoing. He claims, however, he was not a participant in the chanting.
The statement read: “Pending formal engagement with police our client is anxious to put on record his total abhorrence for racism and any activity associated with it.
“As someone who has spent years working with disadvantaged communities in Africa and India he can point to a C.V. in human rights work which undermines any suggestion he is racist.”
Barklie is a former Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland officer.
The man who endured the racist behavior on the Paris Metro, Souleymane S, says the men should be locked up.
“What happened should not go unpunished,” he told Le Parisien. “These people, these English supporters, should be found, punished and should be locked up.
“Having talked about it now gives me the courage to go to the police with a complaint. In any case, I intend to go to anti racism associations.”
Chelsea has since apologized to the victim.
A club spokesperson also said that owner Roman Abramovich was “disgusted” by the incident, while manager Jose Mourinho said he was “ashamed.”
Mourinho invited Souleymane S. to attend the return match against Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge, while at Chelsea’s English Premier League home match against Burnley Saturday — its first game since last week’s incident — fans were seen holding banners reading: “Black or white, we are all blue” and “No racism at the Bridge. That’s the way we like it.”
Former Chelsea player Paul Elliott, a member of the English Football Association’s Inclusion Advisory Board, has welcomed the positive response in the UK to what happened.
“In 21st-Century, multi-racial Britain, sport is the catalyst and the key that engages and unites. For me it’s the most potent weapon for breaking down barriers,” Elliott said at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards.
“The response to the Paris Metro incident has been so uplifting. Society has self-policed it, in the sense that it is so obviously unacceptable to people in the 21st Century.”
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SOURCE: CNN | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube