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Chelsea fan apologises over Paris Metro racism

AFP , Monday 23 Feb 2015
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A former police officer and Chelsea fan apologised on Sunday for his involvement in an alleged racist incident involving football supporters on a Paris Metro train.

Footage posted online last week showed supporters blocking a man named as Souleymane S from boarding a metro train in the French capital and chanting "we're racist and that's the way we like it".

Richard Barklie, 50, a director with rights group the World Human Rights Forum, acknowledged he was involved but insisted he is not a racist in a statement released by his lawyer.

"He did not participate in racist chanting and singing and condemns any behaviour supporting that," the statement from Belfast solicitor Kevin Winters said.

"He wants to put on record his sincerest apologies for the trauma and stress suffered by Mr Souleymane."

The incident ahead of last Tuesday's Champions League draw with Paris St Germain sparked widespread condemnation.

Chelsea have promised to ban anyone proved to have been involved for life, while manager Jose Mourinho said the club were "appalled" by the behaviour.

Barklie, a Chelsea season ticket holder, travelled alone to the match and does not know the other people shown in the video, the statement said.

His work with communities in Africa and India and experience in human rights "undermines any suggestion he is racist", it added.

The statement was released after Scotland Yard released images of the men they believed were among the group involved.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said on Sunday that the three men had now been identified and the force was liaising with the French authorities.

None of the men sought by Scotland Yard have been arrested.

A police spokesman said the force cannot arrest people for offences which happen outside the UK but "a number of people" have now been spoken to in relation to the incident.

Five people have so far been suspended from Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground following investigations into the incident, and the club is helping police in Britain and France.

British police are also seeking a group of men believed to be Chelsea supporters who were heard shouting racist chants at a London train station on Wednesday.

British Transport Police said that the group were reported by a member of the public, and are believed to have travelled back from the Paris match by train.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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