Wednesday 4 January 2017

Chelsea Fans Found Guilty Of Racism After Blocking Man From Paris Train

Chelsea FC

Four Chelsea fans who stopped a black man from boarding a metro train in Paris in 2015 have been found guilty of racist violence.

The supporters were given suspended jail terms of between six months and a year and must pay 10,000 euros (£8,500) in damages to victim Souleymane Sylla.

Video showed Mr Sylla being pushed back from boarding the train by Chelsea fans, who were singing: "We're racist, we're racist, and that's the way we like it."

Richard Barklie and William Simpson, who were not in the Paris court, were given 12-month suspended sentences on charges of committing racist violence and making chants of a racist nature.

Joshua Parsons and James Fairbairn, who both did appear in court, were handed suspended terms of eight months and six months respectively on similar charges.

Chelsea FC

Barklie, Simpson and Parsons have already been banned from football stadiums in England over the incident.

After giving evidence in court, Parsons apologised to the 35-year-old Frenchman of Mauritanian origin, but denied his actions had been racist.

Parsons said: "I am very sorry to Mr Sylla, but I was not racist in any way."

He told the court he had been drinking in a Paris bar for five hours before the incident.

Parsons admitted the atmosphere in the train had been "hot and hostile" but said the supporters had blocked entry to Sylla because the carriage was full, not because of his skin colour.

Parsons also claimed the chanting was in another carriage and the supporters doing it "could not even see Mr Sylla".

Mr Sylla said he had believed he was going to die in the incident.

He said he had been left traumatised, affecting his work and marriage.

"He has not been able to lead a normal life for 18 months," his lawyer Jim Michel-Gabriel told the court.

Dismissing claims his client was motivated by winning compensation, the lawyer added: "He wanted to appear before you today to regain his dignity."

After the verdict, Mr Sylla said: "Justice has been done."

The train was full of Chelsea fans travelling to a Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain in February 2015.



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