Five-year ban for Chelsea fan over Paris metro race row
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A former Northern Ireland policeman has been banned from football matches for five years for racially abusing and shoving a commuter off a Paris metro train.
In a widely circulated video of the incident, Souleymane Sylla is seen being violently pushed off the train as Chelsea fans on the train chanted: “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it.”
Chelsea fan Richard Barklie, 50, admitted twice pushing Sylla ̶ but blamed the Parisian for using "aggression" and shouting as he tried to board the train.
But British district Judge Gareth Branston said that Barklie was “a menace" and had "demonstrated aggressive, disorderly conduct".
The judge also told Stratford Magistrates' Court that Barklie had joined in the racist chanting of, "John Terry is a racist and that's the way we like it."
Four other passengers ̶ William Simpson, 26, Dean Callis, 32, Josh Parsons, 20, and Jordan Munday, 20 ̶ have also been banned from attending football matches for between three and five years in connection with the incident.
Barklie claimed that he had shoved Suleymane off the train not because of his colour but because there was no room in the carriage. Barklie, who has worked as a director with the World Human Rights Forum, also denied joining in the racist singing or chanting which can be heard on the video.
At the time of the incident, Sylla, a French sales manager, told reporters: “I don’t speak a word of English ... but it was clear to me they (Chelsea football fans) were picking on me because of the colour of my skin.”
Paul Nolan, who made the widely viewed film of the incident at the Richelieu-Drouot metro station in the French capital, told FRANCE 24 he believed it was important that as wide an audience as possible saw his video.
“The man pushed off the metro is a victim and the Chelsea fans think they can get away with it,” he said. “I think people should know about it and there should be consequences.”