West Ham to ban fans who chanted racist song on train
West Ham fans who were recorded singing anti-Semitic chants on the way to their team's match against Tottenham on Sunday face lifetime bans if the British Transport Police can identify them.
A 13-second clip was posted on Twitter of a group of fans chanting an expletive-filled, highly abusive song as the train passed through Stamford Hill, a part of north London known for its high Jewish population, but the pictures do not reveal the faces of anyone concerned.
In the wake of the incident last Tuesday night involving Chelsea fans on the Paris Métro, West Ham emailed every supporter who bought a ticket ahead of Sunday's game to remind them that they were acting as ambassadors for the club.
A spokesman said yesterday: "If any individual is found to have behaved in an inappropriate way, the club's simple, zero-tolerance policy dictates that they will face the strongest possible action, including the option of a life ban from the Boleyn Ground."
The British Transport Police said such incidents were taken "very seriously" and it was "very clear that they are not isolated events".
Tottenham are regularly the victims of anti-Semitic chanting, owing to a historical association between the club and north London's Jewish community.
Chelsea have already banned from Stamford Bridge five supporters seen preventing a black man from boarding the Paris Métro last week.
"Chelsea have set a new standard, in that you have to be responsible first and foremost. You (the club) didn't send these people to go out and behave like that - you don't ask your fans to conduct themselves in public like that," said Lord Ouseley, head of football's anti-racist Kick It Out campaign.
"What we can't do is say it is nothing to do with us. It requires the whole of football to get more involved and take action - and at the present time it doesn't seem as though we have that as a response."
The solicitor for one of the Chelsea fans involved in the incident in Paris apologised on his behalf to the victim late on Sunday night and said that he would co-operate with police.
Richard Barklie, a former Northern Ireland police officer, was identified as one of the men sought by London police investigating the video footage.
Solicitor Kevin Winters said Barklie accepted being involved in an incident where a man "was unable to enter a part of the train", but denied racist chanting.
Winters said Barklie "apologises for the trauma and stress suffered" by the victim, adding: "He has an account to give to police."
(© Independent News Service)