‘We are racist, we are racist. And that’s the way we like it’
Four Chelsea fans have been convicted of racist violence against a black man on the Paris Metro.
Joshua Parsons, 22, and James Fairbairn, 25, both denied their actions of February 2015 were in fact racist.
Their co-accused fellow Chelsea fans Richard Barklie, 52 – a former policeman – and William Simpson, 27, were tried in their absence.
They were also ordered to pay the victim 10,000 euros in compensation.
Souleymane Sylla was targeted at Richelieu-Drouot station as football fans made their way to a Champions League match between Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea.
The hearing at the Palais de Justice saw a video recorded by a passenger of fans pushing him off the Metro train.
In the clip, the victim continually tries to board the train, only to be pushed off it onto the platform. The fans can be heard chanting “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it”.
Upon learning of the content in the video, the football club released a statement that evening citing that such behaviour is “abhorrent and has no place in football or society.
The AFP agency reported that after giving evidence, Parsons apologised to Mr Sylla, a Frenchman of Mauritanian origin. However, he denied there was any racist aspect to what had happened.
Turning to Mr Sylla in court, Parsons said: “I am very sorry to Mr Sylla, but I was not racist in any way”.
Parsons, from Dorking, Surrey; Fairbairn, from Kent; and Barklie, from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, are banned from football stadiums in Britain.