Friday 25 May 2018

Chelsea fans banned over racism on Paris metro

Richard Barklie
Richard Barklie

Kate Ferguson in London

A FORMER PSNI officer was among four Chelsea fans banned from football matches for up to five years for racist chanting before a match in Paris.

Video showed Frenchman Souleymane Sylla repeatedly pushed off the carriage of a Paris metro amid chants of "We're racist, we're racist, and that's the way we like it."

The incident happened as Chelsea fans were in the French capital to watch their club's Champions League match against Paris St Germain on February 17.

Earlier that evening, a gang of around 150 Chelsea supporters had roamed through Paris, some lighting flares as they chanted, while others clambered on cars.

Former PSNI officer and human rights activist Richard Barklie (50); former finance worker Josh Parsons (20); and William Simpson (26) were all 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, had earlier received a five-year banning order.

District Judge Gareth Branston told London's Stratford Magistrates Court: "This was an abhorrent, nasty, offensive, arrogant and utterly unacceptable form of behaviour and cannot be allowed in modern, civilised society."

He said Barklie, from Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, who is a director with the World Human Rights Forum, and Parsons were the ringleaders.

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

But footage was played to the court, showing 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.

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

But the judge 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".

All men had denied being racist and fought the Metropolitan Police's attempt to ban them from football grounds.

Irish Independent

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