The shocking moment fans of London soccer club Chelsea prevent a black man from boarding a train in Paris, where their team was playing Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday, was captured on camera.
A source from the Paris public prosecutor’s office has told The Guardian that the local police has launched an investigation on Wednesday into crimes of racial violence on public transport. For its part, Scotland Yard has said in London that it would examine the video in an effort to identify those involved.
The footage shows a black man repeatedly trying to get on a busy train, only to be forcefully pushed out and back on to the platform at the RichelieuΓÇôDrouot station, before Chelsea’s Champions League tie against PSG.
The Chelsea fans on the train are heard chanting “we’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it” while a black woman is standing right in front of them.
In Paris, the inquiry is being handled by a police branch which specializes in crimes related to football hooliganism. According to The Guardian, this was not the first time the Paris police has investigated foreign football supporters for breaking the law in France.
The inquiry’s first challenge would be to identify the Chelsea fans captured in the video and also to locate the victim — the black man who was being prevented from getting on the train at Richelieu-Druout station.
If found guilty, those responsible could face at least three years in prison and a fine of Γé¼45,000.
1. Chelsea fans on a Paris metro after preventing a black man from joining the train. Photograph: Paul Nolan / The Guardian.
London’s Metropolitan Police Service officers traveled to Paris for the game to try an minimize any trouble Chelsea fans might cause. The Met has a database of troublemakers linked to Chelsea and will see if any of those people are captured in the video. They will also use intelligence sources to help the French police.
If the Met identifies those involved in the train incident, it would consider applying for orders to stop them traveling to future football games. The Met said:
We will examine the footage with a view to seeing if we can apply for football banning orders, preventing people from travelling from future matches.
We will, of course, assist French authorities to identify the people involved and support them in any action they choose to take. At the same time we will be working closely with Chelsea football club.
2. The man, holding a briefcase, approaches the carriage door. Photograph: Paul Nolan/The Guardian.
A Chelsea fan who was present during the incident claimed the fans pushed the man off because he was a PSG fan rather than for being black. Mitchell McCoy, 17, from Fulham in London, told the Press Association:
We got on the train and at the station where the man was trying to get on we stopped for a couple of minutes.
He tried to get on and a few people were pushing him off because there wasn’t much space on the carriage. You couldn’t move.
People were saying it was because he was black. It’s not true at all. I personally think it’s because he was a PSG fan. Obviously they didn’t want him anywhere with us. That guy in the video tried to force himself on, so they pushed him off.
Mitchell admitted that fans were chanting “we’re racist and that’s the way we like it”, but claimed that this was a reference to Chelsea captain John Terry who, when asked why that song was sung at that moment, said: “I’m not sure. I didn’t sing it.”
In October 2012, Terry was banned for four matches and fined ┬ú220,000 ($340,000) by the Football Association for racially abusing then QPR player Anton Ferdinand.
3. As he approaches, the fans move towards him. Photograph: Paul Nolan/The Guardian.
Chelsea football club issued a statement later on Wednesday which condemned the fans and said they could be banned:
Such behavior is abhorrent and has no place in football or society. We will support any criminal action against those involved and, should evidence point to involvement of Chelsea season-ticket holders or members the club, will take the strongest possible action against them, including banning orders.
Football’s European governing body, UEFA, said it could not take action against Chelsea, because the incident occurred outside of the football stadium and its authority extends only to incidents at stadiums.
The video was taken by Paul Nolan, a British expatriate. He said:
I was just completely appalled by it and so that’s why I tried to catch some of it on my phone.
There definitely was a culture shock. I heard a couple of French guys saying: “I can’t believe this. It’s insane.”
4. At least one of the fans pushes him back onto the platform. Photograph: Paul Nolan/The Guardian.
Source: The Guardian.
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